I have thousands of parallel lines of thought running in my brain right. Millions of synapses are firing instructions at the same time, and I'm not on any psychoactive substances (maybe residual activity?) - no, I'm sitting in office waiting for someone to return a phone call to me, blissful in the knowledge that I have delivered most of my deliverables. At the end of the day, while I might write Correspondent/Editor (or whatever) on my visiting card I'm just a delivery-man. But my deliverables are chunks of often quite unreadable and boring text.
So thats that, then.
Now, to the topic. The 'Great Bearded One' (GBO) whom often comes in here to comment is someone I have known for some time. Now despite the fact that GBO looks like Santa Claus and is as old as my parents, he is someone I genuinely like - middle-aged with grown-up kids, bustling company that doesn't need too much tinkering and a house on the hills of Pune, and the man also brews wine. Perfect middle-aged harmony. Its been a while since we last met up, but we've been in touch over email and I've been following GBO's latest crusade - in which he is armed with the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Now GBO is the sort of person whom revel in the RTI Act. Y'see GBO's crusade has had some rather strange side-effects. He first targeted the airport authorities because they let people like Rahul-baba go through security unchecked - even though he has no legal right to do so (but, the crown prince is the crown prince, na?). Then there was the entire thing about how retailers inside the airport were charging more than the MRP for water/chips/soft-drinks and not giving bills - this has already had an impact. His latest one is on how people are misusing the VIP Parking slots at the airport. This was as direct consequence of a wannabe former beauty queen/Bollywood bimbette claiming that she had the right to park there. Strange since a couple of cabinet ministers never used the VIP parking facility even when they had it. This has now extended to other 'free' services various departments of the governments give including exemptions from highway tolls.
But, GBO is a clever man, he has found a massive loophole, which is that the for all these 'free' services, agencies should actually 'pay' the service tax on the value of the 'free' service, since the service-tax net thanks to the man with the veshthi is so immense it also covers airport parking as well as highway tolls. Aha! That means that in case Bollywood bimbette gets away without paying Rs 100 in fees/tolls, the agency that gave her the exemption will have to pay the Rs 10 to the central government anyway. The things you discover.
GBO believes that the RTI is used correctly can be a very effective weapon in the upliftment of some of India's more backward areas - incidentally, Bihar still hasn't implemented the RTI Act. He told me, that if he got the details of a few village panchayats he could find out exactly how much money had been spent there and on what. The RTI Act is tremendously powerful, and the bureaucracy in some cases is determined to stop people from getting information because it will expose flaws and corruption. GBO, being an argumentative sort (like many other stout middle-aged men) is also not easily put off by government apathy, and despite the fact that when you meet him you might find this almost impossible to believe - but GBO is bloody determined, even putting up with apathy, because he knows that in case of apathy, someone might end up behind bars (the RTI Act is THAT powerful).
Which is a good thing, because he is also bloody determined to make a good Zinfandel this year, and I plan to take a few bottles of those. I'm not going to explain the RTI Act in major detail, but if you want to help GBO in his 'Inforamtion Crusade', mail me at presstalk [at] gmail.com and I'll put you in touch with him.
On another note, this critical analysis of The Hindu, is extremely readable and explains the extreme hipocrisy in what most liberals consider to be India's 'best' newspaper. Would you trust a newspaper whose editor was the card-carrying member of a political party? I wouldn't. That's why I read the TOI, which despite its extreme vapidness, is India's most apolitical large newspaper. Don't give me shit about HT here - Shobhna Bhartiya is a Congress MP and the Indian Express is the Congress Express.
The last post got a lot of activity, even at many of the blogs that linked to the post. On that particular case, I'll see what is happening and I'll keep everyone posted. And whats with all the wardrobe malfunctions at LFW, Mumbai (Check out this Flickr Tag, some very nice photos of Lakme Fashion Week here). Is it an event that is finding publicity hard to come by screaming "Look at Us", because that is what the cynic in me thinks. I saw the pics of Carol Gracias losing her top (given that every photog I know is camping at the NCPA just for things like this) and well, I'm not one to comment of physical perfection, but Frankentits should do it.
And a couple of links for the people who have been sent here all the way from Debonairblog.com - thanks for the link guys. Tokyo Undressed has some killer photography from you guessed it, Tokyo and Girls, Guns and Rope is a new book that would press the correct buttons of any male.