Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Doc : See K, these results aren’t good.

Me : I guessed as much

Doc : See you’re a strapping young man of 27, you shouldn’t be having all these signs.

Me : Doc, I’m hardly strapping, I’m big.

Doc : Dakho, you will need to take care of yourself young man.

Me : OK Doc

Doc : So I would suggest you go easy for a while, and maybe cut something’s out of your diet

Me : Sigh

Doc : Red Meat

Me : Check

Doc : You should cut out sweets from your life also

Me : Sigh (Telling a Bengali man this is akin to asking him to cut off his left ball, coming from a Bengali man made the thing even worse. Note to self, try to avoid Bong doctors)

Doc : Beer

Me : Sigh, Check

Doc : You can drink a whiskey once in a while, but only with soda

Me : OK, I guess (Given that ‘once in a while wasn’t clearly defined I can live with that).

Doc : Tumi ki cigarette khayo? [Trans : Do you smoke]

Me : Haan, kintu aaj kal beshi khaye na, mane din-e teente charte hoye jaye [Trans : Yes, but not that much nowadays, I smoke around three-four a day]

Doc : Chere dayo! [Leave it]

Me : What?????

Now, I thought quitting smoking would be easier than it is. It has been a week since I officially tried to quit smoking for the first time in my life, and everything is going haywire, so I’ve decided that I’ll first cut back to one cigarette a day.

It is just easier to manage. I managed to go three days without smoking a cigarette, so what if I smoked two joints in the interim, I needed to and I was only told to stop smoking cigarettes, not the herb. My jaws hurt from chewing gum, the lack of nicotine, and more particularly the small quantities of dopamine in my system is playing havoc with my life. This quitting business is tough!

One cigarette a day for now, and then I’ll quit after some time, I mean I know it’s a bad habit and all. See, what did that TV advert say, every cigarette that you smoke cuts 5 minutes from your life. So the 10,000 odd cancer sticks I must’ve smoked in my life have taken 50,000 minutes off my life. Which means that instead of living to the grand old age of 80, I’ll live to be 79 years 10 months and 25 days old. What a pity!

However, what is true is that smoking too much can affect your sperm count, or so the scientific journals say. Despite a rather hairy incident back in Class 12, I haven’t to the best of my knowledge gotten any girl pregnant, so the world is thankfully still spared of K-spawn.

Now, when I was trying this entire quitting business, I decided that the best thing that could come out of quitting would be the fact that I would save immense amounts of money. I smoke Classic Milds, which cost Rs 65 a packet, despite smoking less nowadays, I end up going through a pack of 20’s in about three days on average, no smoking would mean I save Rs 650 a month, or Rs 7800 a year. That is not chickenfeed by any stretch of imagination.

But, as I have said before despite the health and financial incentives, quitting is difficult. I’ve been smoking since an unprintable age (thanks to the large number of unclaimed cigarette cartons at my dad’s place I had an unlimited stock of Benson’s and 555’s). I was the evil mofo who got quite a few boys in school to take their first puffs, one major reason I liked going to (and winning) quizzes and debates in college (in the days before the current Nazi-esque administration started expelling students for smoking) was because they could fund this habit (and the booze) and I would not feel guilty about spending my parents money on smoking.

But then again my parents smoked, so even when my dad told me off for smoking once when I was 17, I could look him back in the face and call him a hypocrite. I mean, how can a man who smoked 40-plus cigarettes a day tell someone off for smoking? (It is almost as ironic as the fact that O&M India’s Creative guru is a chain smoker but came up with a brilliant anti-smoking advert which won an award an Cannes)

Anyway, this isn’t a diatribe against smoking, but rather the frustrating feeling one gets when one tries to quit. It requires an insane amount of will and determination, and I don’t have that in spades right now. But, I will ‘leave’ smoking for a bit, I mean I guess I will still smoke occasionally but leave the stick on a daily basis, its for my good I know that.

And one doesn’t need to smoke like a freaking chimney anymore to advertise one’s credo as a journo, even though the second-hand smoke at Turquoise Cottage during media nights (every Wednesday night, when journalists and ad-sales people from the media world meet, fight and pay for booze they never consumed) could probably kill you, and lets not get into the dungy, depressing environs of the Delhi Press Club (the Bombay Press Club is eons ahead – it is actually welcoming). But then again, as journalism has moved into its PYT phase, one doubts that some ‘journalists’ even have the IQ required to smoke.

Sorry for the rant! I’m feeling a bit edgy of late.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Great Victory!

No, I'm not talking about the fact that some sense finally came into the heads of Pakistani groundsmen, but the dramatic and sudden removal of Mani Shankar Aiyar from the Petroleum Ministry. This means that ONGC CMD Subir Raha, who is generally considered by most people to be the most efficient PSU chief (and a terror by those who work under him) has won a great victory. Raha who went on record once questioning the need for a ministry, obviously has better friends in higher places than Aiyar, or maybe the now former ministers frequent foreign jaunts might have irked people. There possibly is more to the removal and maybe I have a few ideas why (which I can't write about here), but because our media will bend over and let itself be butt-f***** by the current government we won't get to hear any of it.
Of course, if Murli Deora gets appointed as Petroleum Minister, there might well be a shift of news reportage on oil and natural gas from Shastri Bhawan to Churchgate. But will it also mean that will be subjected to Milind/Mukund Deora playing music whenever the ministry hosts a party? Scary thought! But on Raha's great victory, I heartily congratulate him, it feels nice when a Bong gives it back in equal measure. I doubt Aiyar will be able to garner much media attention now, but if he seriously works towards ensuring that India can win more than one medal at the Olympics and more importantly, feature in the top three in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, it would be a job well done. Not that the media will care. Thank god!
Another, but not so surprising removal, was that of Renuka Choudhary from the Tourism portfolio. Despite being mired in controversy at the beginning of her term in a matter concerning Johnnie Walker Black Label and Duty-Free shops, she has been resposible for introducing a very good advertising campaign for Indian Tourism. I think the Incredible India adverts are far better than the adverts of most countries other than New Zealand, OK thats because I've always wanted to go to New Zealand, but Incredible India even has a very good website. Of course, with a Gandhi-family loyalist taking over, I'm sure places like 'Shakti Sthal' on the banks of the Yamuna, 10 Janpath and other assorted Gandhi-family treasures will be promoted.
Oh well, lets see what happens. I'm heading back to Bombay today after almost three weeks in Delhi. Well, at least it will be warmer there.
EDIT : I can go through my visitor stats and I do so with alarming frequency (I don't have a life), and I was curious, who hates my blog so that they made it endure this? And, love 'em or hate 'em, Americans will be Americans. And this is nice! And in Tokyo you can find a Star Wars StormTrooper in your train - and he is British!?! And how I missed this blog earlier is surprising, but I love it. And America's 50 most loathsome people, hmmm, I wonder if we could ever come up with a listing like that in India.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Every year around November, there is hectic activity in the homes of certain people who are members of the altruistically named 'Awards Committee'. Now members of this committe who range from the illiterate to the extremely savvy have a job to do - award some of their friends some National Honours. So, a few years ago, when the BhaJaPa was in power, a person, we will refer to here as 'God' won the Padma Bhushan (Irony : Note the site where I lined to), which was quite strange given that journalists don't usually win such awards, I mean journalists don't usually win such awards now that the socialist tendencies of the 50's-80's are over. In those days, entire colonies in South Delhi were given over to journalists at massively subsidised rates. Ah, the good ol' days. But, of course, there were people who couldn't distinguish between 'God' and then the then Deputy PM, only that the DPM was a lot taller. Of course, even though the dispensation at the centre has changed, 'God' has proven to be a 'flip-flopper' beyond John Kerry-esque dimensions, and now spreads the word of Mrs G v2.0 with vigour.
But this post is not about 'God' (who still strangely enough doesn't have a Wikipedia entry - even though a search for his name led me to this, which if ever populated fully might be the longest entry in Wikipedia), its about the Padma Awards this year, which again are full of surprises.
The Padma Awards stink of politics and yet successive governments have nothing to change the system. India for example won't do what Australia does (who gave Nicole Kidman their highest Civilian Honour), we haven't given Amitabh Bachchan a Bharat Ratna - and with the current government which hounds him for money on his 'potential' death-bed, chances are slim. Lets be honest, he is the biggest thing India has got, if you travel in the Middle East, North or West Africa and announce yourself to be Indian, they all know the man. Nobody of course knows who our Prime Minister is, which might be a good thing, because he himself has no idea of whats going on - heck, the Central Government's Remote Control operation makes Bal Thackeray's RC controlled Maharastra Government of the 90's look amatuerish
This time round Sucheta Dalal and Mrinal Pande are journalists who won Padma awards. I have no issues with either of these people, but I just have this small burning issue, if the government awards you something, can you really call them a bunch of 'dunderheads' in your next article/column/TV show - which of course neither of these people would (I'll reserve other comments for later). The debate is much like accepting a junket (OK, maybe the analogy is a bit much). But honestly, they're Padma Shri awards, and giving those to journalists might be OK, its not like the Padma Bhusan that 'God' managed to wrangle for himself. But my probelm this year is not with the journalists but some other people in the list, I mean see the list its mind-boggling where the awards land up.
A person I know, who sat on the 'Committee' a few years ago, unfortunately he sat on the 'Committee' which awarded 'God' (who also wanted an award for his 'man' - the publisher and 'editor' of the publication he works for but the 'Committee' weren't ready to give him a PB and only wanted to give him a PS, but 'God' would then be a quandry, winning a bigger award than his 'boss', so that got scrapped and subsequent events concerning God's #2, a pretty lady journalist and half the Indian Cabinet were to derail the sequence of events next year - EDIT - God's boss already had a PS but he wanted more either a PB or a RS seat, thankfully he got none). This person told me that that they got 25,000 applications for the Awards every year, I read a few of the applictions, people writing in letters demanding that they be awarded the Bharat Ratna for developing among other things 'A clinically tested cure for Cancer' (hah!) and running Delhi's largest chain of weight loss clinics, and generally looking gaudish. And talking about gaudish Shahnaz Hussain won the award this year in the 'Trade and Industry' category. That alone proves my entire diatribe. 'Nuff said!
EDIT : I think we should do something like this in India. The 101 Stupidest moments in business.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Oh Shoot!

I haven't posted for a few days because I haven't been the best of health. I had a few tests done which show that all my indicators are above normal and my mother and my bosses believe that I should stay on in Delhi for a few more days and start to get myself back into shape. Simply put, I've been told to lay off the good life, and to be honest the last six years have been too much of a blast, and now that I have something in black and white (who said the power of the printed word was fading) that says I have bad this and bad that. Damn!
What I don't get is that everybody else to getting paranoid about me. I hate people getting worked up about me, because I have no itention of dying. But, now I'll have to spend the next few months without beer and red meat and I'll also quit smoking (only cigarettes, that is). So the joys of Kingfisher are over for me, the copious amounts of money that have flowed from my pocket to VM's various hobbies now see their path dammed. Heck, maybe I'll even save some money.
Anyway, the fact of the matter is that I had become very out of shape over the past 24 months and that I should start treating my body a bit better. Can't model on a Zeppelin, after all what happened to the Hindenburg at New Jersey, it went up in flames, and its too soon for the obits.
Couple of blog related notes, I've added Google Adsense, because I hear people make shitloads of money of it. And secondly, my Google Analytics counters tell me that people come here for the wildest things, so if you came to this blog searching for the non-existent naked pictures of some Bollywood actress, I'm very sorry, but you could see Debonair blog, which gets my vote as the best desi-blog around, simply because it has no pretensions to intellectualism. And yes, the founders of Google may not want Google to be evil, but I sold my cyber-soul to them a long time ago. Anywy, back to regular proramming - my regulars raves and rants - in the next post.
Until then, just in case you didn't come here looking for some perverse stuff (when did that happen???), and you haven't heard of the Greatbong, lease go and read his latest post. I mean, no-one else could connect Rahul Gandhi and Uday Chopra, but the man has. However, and this does not hint at any 'Brokeback' tendencies - Rahulbaba is a lot better looking than that Uday. And I will remind you that Yash Chopra does have one extremely talented and very quiet and extremely successful (think DDLJ) son - Aditya Chopra. One out of two ain't bad.
PS : On blogs tagged India in Technorati, I make the top 50. Not terribly bad!
EDIT : Just adding some stuff, don't mind. This is Dior's Spring/Summer 2006 Couture Collection. Its rather wild (make that very wild), but I'm betting India's league of copy-masters are aleady salivating! (via BoingBoing)
The Guardian has a very interesting interview with Joan Baez.
The 2006 Bloggies - Vote Now!

Friday, January 20, 2006

My, my, my!

Its barely two weeks old, but this could well be the best media blog on India I have read for some time. Heck, I added it to my Bloglines feed in five seconds flat! OK, so its just about UndieTeeVee versus Rajdeep&Family TV, won't make the boffins at Videocon Tower too happy that their non-watchable TV channel isn't even being counted, but it does have some some interesting things to say about 'Times Sometime'. I'm still not entirely convinced of total impartiality, but then again, totally impartial opinions are extremely dull to read.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Originally uploaded by The Big K.

My boss had been given the N90 to play with (much like they did with all major US bloggers) but because he is a dedicated Communicator user, he didn't want to give up his tablet so he told me to return the N90 to Nokia. But I thought that I'ld use it for a few days in Delhi. I took a few snaps over the last few days with the phone and it isn't bad at all. Not as convinient as the N70 I had been sent last month, which was immensely easier to use, the N90 has a very awkward form factor with hinges everywhere. Which means you can shoot unreachable unmentionables, but does make the phone quite a handful, as one review I read said - its like the mobile-phone version of the Rubik's Cube. But the optics on this thing are brilliant - it has a Carl Zeiss lens with optical zoom et al.
Note to Nokia - PC Suite 6.5 is awfully irritating to install and takes at least a day to recognise my phone. I had the same problem with the N70 and that was on another machine.
All in all, the first two phones of Nokia's brand-new N-series of 3G phones are both quite interesting, but if push came to shove I would choose the N70 because its more conventional. Shit, I'm growing old!
Now to the Auto Expo...
This photo for example was taken outside Hall 7 of the Auto Expo on the last day of the exposition. I wasn't so dumb as to barge into the teeming mass of humanity, and because I had already seen all the cars and bikes I had wanted to see on the Media Preview Day, I really didn't care for another look. But this Auto Expo was quite tepid compared to the last few - there were no new 'mass' models showcased - unless you consider the new Pulsar DTS-Fi from Bajaj. Which kinda reinforced my theory that this was more a Bike show than a car show - Yamaha had the Roadliner and the YZR-M1 along with Valentino Rossi's 2005 MotoGP bike, Suzuki had the Hayabusa on display, not strange considering that India is the world's second largest bike market and will cross the 10 million bikes/year mark by 2009. No exciting or affordable cars anywhere. And other than Mahindra, no-one had any interesting concepts either, the Honda FC-V is a two-year old concept and differnt from the brand new FCV they showcased at LA, and the BAR F1 car from 2004 was just a body-shell.
The global Auto industry is more interested in the NAIAS in Detroit, because thats where all the big-wigs were. Thats why I've been reading coverage of that show to give me some insights into what might happen in the Indian industry. I don't think Tata's tie-up with Fiat is a good move either for Tata, because Sergio Marchionne is a very clever guy, look at the way he shafted GM. And despite illusions of granduer, the Tata Indica is still a sucky little car.
Not that this 'minor' fact stopped people from going. Nope, even when the gates closed, it seemed there might be a small riot outside Pragati Maidan. I mean the crowd may not seem like much in this picture, bnut let me assure you that despite the tickets being priced at Rs 500 people were buying them and going to gape at the not-so-pretty hostesses.
Oh well, thats that for now.

EDIT : A lot of people have come to this blog searching for details of the Bajaj Pulsar DTS-Fi. OK, there is a picture to whet your apetite, but what do we know about the bike. It has a considerably larger engine than the current Pulsar's - 230-250cc range (hopefully the upper end), uses fuel injection and will give a lot more power than the current Pulsar's - pumping out 20-ish horsepower and it looks rather nice too. I guess it will be priced in the 90k-100k range, but it will perform. However, don't expect it before late-2006.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Originally uploaded by The Big K.
Every year I read of a tragedy at the Haj, and somehow it always seems to irk me that South Asians (of all nationalities) are somehow the worst affected. Sure, South Asia has more Muslims than any other region in the world, but somehow I think this is symptomatic of a deeper malaise - and this post ain't taking religious overtones. I'm just accusing ALL (well, most) South Asians irrespective of religions unable to understand the concept of order.
I have been very impressed with the Delhi Metro. I've been riding on the new Line 3 aka 'Blue Line' to office after parking my car at Patel Chowk. But this picture I took a few months ago, shows what happens whenever the train stops at the CP stop in the evening. Getting off is near impossible. Chaos theory at work, and the Metro is far more organised than the roads where the uncertainity principle 'you can only ever know the speed or the direction of the Blueline bus/Maruti Zen/Motorcycylist ahead of you but never both' comes into play. The concept of letting people get off before you get on is difficult to understand. It somehow works in Bombay (barely), unless its a Virar Fast pulling into Churchgate. The concept of order seems to be beyond us, unless there is a guy with a gun forcing you to do something.
But bring religion into the mix and all hell breaks loose. Its not just the Haj, every Kumbh Mela there is a near riot or almost riot or stampede. And the authorities are helpless against religious fanaticism, which somehow always means crushing the young, old and infirm underneath you.
If we breed (and we are breeding a pure-male race at that) like rabbits this is what will invariably happen. So, actually I sympathise with the Saudi authorities on this matter, there is not much they can do. The next time you read of a stampede at the Haj, don't be surprised to read that the maximum number of dead are from either India or Pakistan.
By the way, did you see how Shahid Afridi blasted Bhajji in that over. Madness!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Walking, walking.

It has been a rather hectic three days at the Auto Expo running from one press conference to another. Unlike many other news organisations, which have sent two, three and in the case of TV-18 ten plus reporters (And I'm not counting the auto magazines which have their entire staff here - strange considering that all the major auto magazines are Bombay based) it has been very hectic. What makes life even worse is the fact that the weather is funny, it actually gets rather hot in the day, especially if you end up walking a good four-five km every day. But then again, I'm not lugging heavy camera equipment with me all the time.
If you are considering visiting the eight edition of the Auto Expo at Pragati Maidan over the weekend - don't. There will be a mass of humanity, and with over 15 million people in the capital, even if 5 per cent of the population ends up at Pragati Maidan, like they invariably tend to do, it is going to be pretty close to hell. Most of the cars will be cordoned off, unless you want to see the Swift line-up in the Maruti hall. In fact, the bikes at the Yamaha and Suzuki stands are far coller than any of the cars on display. Unless you want to see the highly modified machines made by third party companies, but the Yamaha Rideliner is really the star of the show for me.
I also got to use the 'Blue Line' on the Delhi Metro, which I think is cooler than the Auto Expo.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Networking Crisis

I have been a journalist for over three and a half years now, faking my way through press-conference after press-conference and then spouting knowledge as if it were an absolute certainty in article after article. I haven't slept with anyone to get a story, but then again, people would need to be really desperate to sleep with an individual who looks like me. However, anyone who knows me, editors downwards, would testify that I love hearing the sound of my own voice. Which is why I can do this 'networking' thing rather well. And being a Grade-A quizzer in School and College (hey, it is my blog after all, so showboating is allowed) means I know a lot of trivial things about a lot of other trivial things. Like for example, the price and availibity of certain psychotropic substances in and across India. Among other things. Not that I do any of them obviously.
Now, that we have got through the round-about beginning to a post of mine, lets get to the point. I was cleaning out my stuff. Not because I wanted to make my boss delirious with joy and quit. No can do. But, because our owners have decided to spruce up our Bombay office, which means that from one hole in the wall in Nariman Point, we'll move to an even smaller hole in the wall in Nariman Point in the interim. And because my spouting forth knowledge on the Indian Automotive Industry has made me a sort of 'industry expert' (and I will go as far as tyo say that I do really know more than many other purported 'auto experts') my editor in a bout of extreme generousity (I don't know if this was his exact feeling, but because he reads the blog I can't really say what he was feeling) asked me to attend the 8th Auto Expo in Delhi. Which gives me a chance to escape my fiendish friends from Bombay, whose one-point agenda is to incapicitate my liver.
So I was cleaning out my drawer (why are my posts my rambling?) and generally noticed that I had collected a lot of cards. In over 40 months of being a reporter in one place or another I had collected over 2500 visiting cards of businessmen, politicians, bureaucrats and general megalomaniacs. That unfortunately is a lot of cards. I have no idea how many of them are current, I'm sure I have cards of dead people, people who've quit, people in jail, people on the run from jail and so on and so forth. I have never bothered to organise my visiting cards, because doing so would involve a week-long procedure. And then again, at least a quarter of the cards I have are of PR people - and some of them are good 'roach' material too. But just going through these cards you realise you realise how cheap some companiers are and how classy other companies are.
But it is crazy to realise that you have so many cards. Possibly one reason behind the crisis is that I have never had a 'set' beat - I've covered everything from Advertising to Textiles and Automobiles to Shit - no really, one of my best stories ever was on shit. What happened afterwards is a long story, but I've also written P3 stories, food reviews, foreign policy and much more. I don't what it is about seeing a fat man smile that make people receptive towards me and then give me their visiting cards and a story.
I should really sort out my visiting cards one day. And maybe talking a bit less would be a good idea as well. But now, I'm really looking forward to visiting Delhi again. Even though it is freaking cold up there.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Tippity, tap, tippity, tap!

A prominent opposition leader's phone is tapped, and half the press in India goes to sleep?
Why you might ask is this so?
Well, given that most of the English media in this country is tripping over itself to be seen as a pro-government newspaper/TV Channel, it is hardly surprising. What is surprising, is that the only large-scale English broadsheet raising ANY questions against the government is - say hello to the Times of India (I will give The Pioneer a skip over here, because it is the only English language daily of the opposition and calling it large-scale would be paying it a tremendous compliment). And while the Times is raising some issues, because of the Times' historical tradition of pussyfooting, they are not quite enough. At least the Times hasn't become a Congress apologist like the Hindustan Times, which makes the Express and Outlook look moderate in comparison.
I mean, the only educated journalist questioning the hair-brained economic policies of the Government of India is - Swaminathan Aiyar - who most people would have assumed would be a government loyalist. But no, the man even thinks that the policies of his younger brother are somewhat out of line - like depending on a rather undependable source called Iran for our energy security forgetting how that country shafted us post-revolution. Better still, we depend on Pakistan to ensure that the gas reaches us? Of course, if they shut off the gas, we could shut off their water, but someone in our cabinet has a very limited grasp of geopolitics. Maybe, given that Congressi geopolitics is stuck in a quandry - somewhere between Nehruvian idealism and commerce-driven realities and its policies reflect that.
But coming back to politics, why is it that we 'fire' 11 MP's who took money but people like Shahbuddin are allowed to carry on in Parliament? Why is it, that we 'media' not question the why's of phone tapping and buy the government-sponsored 'private detective agency' story? If a person like Ambika Soni instead of answering the ethical aspects of this, asks whether Amar Singh has anything to hide, we let her be?
The Naxal problem across Andhara Pradesh has reached endemic proportions, yet the media don't report about it. The failures of our foreign policy are evident in the crises in Nepal and now Sri Lanka. We have allowed Bangladesh to become a terrorist state. Our intelligence priorities have turned inwards y'see.
All in the guise of 'liberalism'? Something is going seriously wrong in the country, and if the BJP was in power the media would pouncing all over it. But because the media has bought into this school of though that doesn't question the Congress and its actions, the media has in essence become rather toothless, because if the only newspaper questioning the economic and political activities of the government is the Times of India, you bloody well be certain something is seriously wrong.
I know a lot of you reading this, would have 'Me secularist' or 'BJP Evil' written on your sleeves and would allow the Congress to get away with blue murder rather than have the BJP come back to power. Unfortunately, it is exactly that line of thought that the government is taking advantage of.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A repressed nation?

I was talking to a friend the other night and trying to convince him that there is a huge business opportunity in sex-toys. I mean, I've read enough stories about how the Chinese sex-toy industry is booming, but out here I've never seen a dildo on sale even in the shadiest of shops I have been to. Well, actually I did see a 'Fleshlight' on sale once at Palika, but it looked fairly cheap. I mean, this is the land of the Kama Sutra and all and people rave about Tantric sex out in the West, but Indians on the face of things seem like a very repressed culture, north to south. Why this is surprising is that Indians are on general hornier than most other cuiltures - and I'm not just talking about the men over here. We may talk about the social malaise of call-centres (Phooey!) but unless BPO management starts some sex-education classes in their call-centres soon, a certain epidemic could spread far faster than it already is. OK, with costs being cut the way they are, I would just suggest that they at least start condom vending machines. Have you ever been to a Abortion Clinic in India? It is unbelievable how many abortions Indians have every year (especially after festive seasons?) - and I'm not even looking into the deliberate abortion of female embryos over here. In hedonism central - Bombay - its like a sex-festioval sometimes, even when you step out of glitz and glamour world.
And then, when a woman advises young people to use condoms, a bunch of frustrated people go denouncing her? I don't get it. We bang like no-one else on earth (and bang a lot - there are a billion of us) and there is no concept of sex magazines, or even good sex advice columns. Heck, Playboy in India will be 'bunny-less' because they don't want to offend 'Indian sensibilities'. But what on earth is this much vaunted 'Indian sensibilities'? A millenia ago, when our ancestors were putting up scupltures of naked people banging, no-one spoke of sensibilities? But nowadays, even a slight show of nipple is said to effect the minds of our young. I have no idea why a bunch of 50-year olds get so offended, when their sons and daughters are going around fucking like rabbits.
What is even stranger in the way we treat sexual content on TV. We'll ban cable operators from playing the movies but not control the sale of DVD's and VCD's at railway stations. Not unless some cop hasn't been given his cut. If you want to find porn in this country and don't have access to broadband, you still can (but I doubt a housewife can find a good dildo).
Because sexuality is seen a thing that must be hidden, it has been driven underground and we all knew it was there - HT and ToI have been carrying Massage and Friendship adverts for years. Only now with the advent of Mobile Phone cameras can we get a glimpse into this world. And my god, giving Indians cheap video cameras has taken the sexuality out of the bedroom and onto the mobile phone. The amount of porn video clips available is not funny. And a cursory glance at my keywords also alerts me to the fact that Indian men are obsessed with seeing naked celebs - Mallika Sherawat, Sania Mirza, Priety Zinta etc. The vids that are out there - other than the Riya Sen (ugh!) clip are all so obviously fake its not funny, but people still want to see them - so much so that people will go to great lengths to make a new 'mobile-phone blue film' as these are called nowadays. The only way to combat this is to somehow liberalise the entire 'sex' business in India - I'm not saying legalise prostitution (though that would help too) but allow a porn magazine into the country for gods sake. I mean, why are we in denial over here.
By the 2011 census it is predicted that a quarter of India's population will be between the ages of 15-24 - prime banging age. Hopefully, the moral policing of the golden oldies would have stopped by then, but just like the 'stop sex' advocates of today were frustro's in their youth (not getting any in the 60's and 70's), I wonder if the frustro's of today won't become the moral police of tomorrow. All I know is that banging will continue, hopefully we'll just be a bit more open about it and lose as much of the sense of denial of sex that we have nowadays. Being a repressed nation any longer will only make us even more perverted.
Which is why I think my idea for a sex-toy chain will do very well. I must get some VC funding for this. Where is Scott Adam's desperate VC Vijay when you need him?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Quota, quota everywhere, not a job in sight!

I remember 1991 for a lot of reasons, my parents marriage was disintegrating and because of the Mandal agitation. I might have only been in Class VI, but the implementation of the Mandal Commission report and the start of caste-based politics by the VP Singh government changed India forever (to be fair to the Nehru-Gandhi family of yore, they never indulged in this game). I remember that there was rioting near Chirag Delhi and AIIMS and shots were fired - well, school was shut. But mostly, I remember the Mandal agitation because the rioters busted all the windows on DTC buses and trust me travelling on a bus with no windows during the Delhi winter is not a very smart idea.
At the end of the day, Mandal never affected me on the job front, I never joined the government. Sure, thanks to Mandal, the number of seats for general category students at St Stephen's reduced even further, but I would have made the cut-off anyway. And until my second-year of college, I was hesitantly supportive of caste-based affirmative action. However, an incident with a fresher that year changed all that. 'Bogs' (which is the guy's real nickname) was a fresher who had joined SSC. He was the son of an IAS Officer, a rather senior one and had studied in one of Cal's best schools, heck, Bogs was a cheap version of Delhi's 'Baba Log'. Now, back in college we used to ask people how much they got in their boards - heck everybody had a distinction. But Bogs was very iffy answering, at which point of time, another friend threatened him and out popped the answer. Bogs had a respectable grade, but nowhere near SSC standards, and because we knew that the only sport he knew was pool, Bogs was either Christian (which he wasn't) or actually used the 'Chamar' certificate to gain admission.
I was horrified. Here was a guy who had the best of everything in life, he hadn't done particularly well in his exams because he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer (as we would later discover). It wasn't exactly fair that people like him were using the 'SC' certificate to get to places in life. I couldn't understand what had gone wrong with the system. As I dug deeper, it seemed that most SC/ST seats in SSC were also given on 'Papa' quota. And it wasn't just Stephen's which suffered from this ('Papa' quota got me into SSC as well, I'll admit that much) it was all sorts of organisations. The meritocratic system which symbolised India was being eaten from within by a not-so underprivileged section of society. The sons and daughters of Laloo and Mulayam were taking up the seats and no-body could stop it.
I might hold Nehru responsible for the Kashmir debacle and the 1962 drubbing by China, but Nehru wanted India to be a meritocratic society where caste and religion didn't matter. His daughter played the religion card and now his grand-daughter-in-law wants to kill the system once and for all by getting one of her acolytes to push through private-sector reservation.
Yes, you can argue that the private sector should not be protected from the upliftment of the downtrodden. But because this government has proven time and again that it is the worst government that India has had since 1977 and it has a collective IQ of 20 and because the greater Indian media is tripping over one another to garner the title of 'official government mouthpiece', (and Rajdeep is not doing a bad job towards making CNN-IBN just that) this is a hair-brained idea. An idea which is worse than the National Employment Guarantee Scheme (which is equally hair-brained). You see, what will a company like mine do to meet its quotas - they'll probably sack the peons and the clerks and hire quota people in those positions. Does the government really think that this scheme will create jobs? All that it will do is that it will drive a lot of people out of jobs, and will that really help anyone? Maybe Meira Kumar ought to take a Virar Fast sometime and ask people if they support this idea.
Just as India had begun to see some of its best and brightest starting to return, something like this can take the wind out of the economy and start another brain drain. Just like Nehru's mad socialist economic policies started the first.
PS : Read Arnab's post on the issue. But I disagree on the Paswan rocks front!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year and Happy Birthday!

Heck, its MMVI already. Damn! Thats one less year to look forward to for this carbon-based lifeform. Of course, there is always the hope that other carbon-based humanoid lifeforms calling themselves 'Journalists' or 'Prass' will continue to screw up. Why hope, this is the India after all, and the media here, which obsesses over how small a camera can become so that they can expose things like, maybe the empty space between their editors heads, then again, most (male) editors just want to ball the female reporters/anchors (I can't wait to be an editor), women editors chase the young men (some of whom don't mind being chased down). Its gonna be a lovely bitchy year, I just know it!
And this little piece of the cyberosphere has just become a year old. I don't believe I have managed to keep a blog running for over a year. It is quite remarkable. A miracle really! Thanks for all the juice. No, really. In case, I'm not making any sense, you wouldn't make any sense either if your head was full of grandiose numbers.
Anyway, Happy New Year to all the regular readers of the blog - I possibly know the ten of you rather well by now and also to those of you who come searching for porn, have a great year as well and I would sincerely advise you to use a better search string.