Wednesday, April 29, 2009


If The Indian Express (where in something that would have made Ponytail proud, journalism awards were given to the son-in-law, anyone surprised?) is changing its spots so dramatically, can a change of government be in the offing? The Q leak, though symptomatic of the way the UPA regime has used the CBI for its own odds and ends (much like the NDA also did) is rumored to be followed up by other large exposes before the fourth round on May 7. I wonder how quickly RajdeepTV starts changing their stance as well - ET carried a decent story today on how bureaucrats are trying to save their skins as happened during polling in 2004 (and given that the ToI and ET sites are run by Indiatimes a completely schizo web company you can't find the article).
The other really funny thing is that the 'psychopath's' antics in Pilibhit seem to have worked - confused identity and the BJP's own problems with his father (and the Emergency) be damned. BCCL of course, always goes where the wind blows - I think there is a Mr. Big song of the same name - this eighties and nineties music thing is getting a bit much - have Sweet Child O' Mine playing right now while also trying to watch the two worst teams in the IPL go at each other. What will happen to the news organisations that find themselves tied to the Congress thanks to reasons of ownership or otherwise? Well, the Congress-owned paper won't be making ministers of it anytime soon, and after the funny accusation of calling Advani a mask for Modi - funny because everybody has known that fact for a while, much like MMS is a cover for Rahulbaba. Seriously, expecting either Advani or MMS to last out till 2014 is asking for far too much. Call a spade a spade, but do it fairly.
That said, I still believe that 1992, 2002 and IC-814 will be problems for the BJP going forward not just the 'Hindu' agenda forwarded by Togadia and Muthalik. Ditching the ugly side is important. Nothing wrong in nationalism, nothing wrong in demanding and creating a stronger India. But the past has a bad habit of appearing at all the wrong times. Shit happened, shit hit the fan, if you don't clean all the shit quickly, you can still fall ill after several years.
It seems the Bevdaas have beaten Dildo's team. Remind me to send Nokia's marketing guys a 'told you so' note!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Those of you born earlier than me, before everything became computerised and before your music player started weighing 25 grams and became the size of - heck I can't even find a size equivalent for the new iPod Shuffle, it is insanely small. Carrying 1000 songs in something that small just highlights how far we have come. Just take a look at these pictures from the 1970's to get an idea how a newspaper was put together. I don't know about you, but I first walked into a large press and saw the bustle of a typical newspaper office in 1984, as a five-year old. Telex machines, typewriters and the sheer volume, and today people tell me that I type loudly at one-tenth the volume of the 80's. Cell-phones, Google, desktop designing and layouts, the world has come a long way...
And why would I have opinion on Fake IPL player -one of the people I thought could have written it denied it. I still believe the writer is a Bengali, because of a couple of references (and the tortured emotions towards KKR - which is why like the good Delhi boy I am I support Veeru's team), may or may not be in South Africa - a couple of bad mistakes (VJM wasn't in Cape Town for the opening ceremony - he was his cars in Shanghai) and is adept at the medium. I might be wrong here, but I personally believe that the blogger is either a journalist or a member of the production crew. Or and this is highly unlikely, a back-room member of KKR.
On this post, do you really think that we are tarring the organisation thanks to the actions of one man? I don't think so, firstly the editor, or the resident editor does have a say in the news selection, was somebody sleeping? The second and far more nefarious possibility is Private Treaties - ET did go gung-ho in printing Private Treaties news, the inside pages were full of news that really didn't cut the grade. Several leaked memos and reports have highlighted how Private Treaties have damaged the bottom-line, but the SEBI report has damaged the 'moral' line so to speak. How is The Economic Times therefore any different than India TV? Somebody has to ask this question, and I am.
Listen, I have nothing against Bennett, and as I told a couple of people when the shit the fan that ET should have used the SEBI report as an excuse to clean up its act - apologised on the front page instead of ignoring it. Standing up for some semblance of values is 'supposed' to be a bad thing according to some people? What world do you live in? The PR agency involved was deep in the doo-doo also - but the question that needs to be answered - desperately - was this done as a matter of policy? Making people scapegoats doesn't help for too long, just as hiding behind a few semantically challenged lines in autobiographies don't.
The slowdown is pummelling CNBC's reputation in the US, ET is the scapegoat here and believe me, this is only going to get worse, because I'm not sure if people have monitoring the interwebs for what is going on forums. Because there is a hell of a lot of anger, you can see how CNBC TV18 has reacted (a virtual change in their line-up) - I scout around web forums quite often just to see how people react. I don't like what I read sometimes, but weirdly enough, this is what journalism has also become - it is essentially to troll blogs and monitor Google Trends as part of the job. We can't all live in our little f'in cocoons and have stories delivered in small brown packets or over email.
Also, according to certain sources at ET TV, the great white elephant might be further delayed beyond the rumoured May 1 launch date (I can't nor will I confirm this), not helped along by integration issues. Cutting salaries of people in print who are supposed to help deliver the exclusives while the TV guys keep their 2008-peak salaries is leading to trouble. But that is like stating the obvious, and I have a funny feeling a few more reports might make it into the public domain soon.
So just a word of advice for anybody 'leaking' any reports - please 'leak' your report through Wikileaks - for reasons of libel and then link back to the Wikileaks site. Hosting any report which is copyrighted to someone else may not be in your best interests given how trigger happy the legal arms of some media firms might be.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Def Leppard

No, the title is not supposed to make sense, the shuffle mode, and yes it is on shuffle, of the Nokia 5800 I'm using has suddenly decided that I need a massive dose of Def Leppard - era no bar. So I've had crazy early eighties Brit Pop - to the golden oldies from Hysteria and Adrenalize - two albums I genuinely liked when I was in school. Heck, I think I even became good at carving the pointy Def Leppard logo onto several school desks. Def Lep and Metallica to be honest.
But then again, since according to several of the people who read this blog I represent this blog, I symbolise all that is wrong with the 'elite', my music choices represent my 'moral corruption'. Would you believe it if I told I even liked Michael Jackson and some ALW musicals back then. Cool, since I've just got a new iPod Shuffle to try out and finally plan to load four gigs exclusively of rock from the eighties and nineties. No new age Brandon Flowers lyrical murder on this iPod (OK, I've lost count now), even though I like The Killers honestly. And Kings of Leon and well, I like a lot of new stuff. But if you are like me, in your late twenties or early thiries, the last generation of Indians who grew up knowing that there was TV, though only one-channel TV with Chitrahaar being family bonding time, and when mastering the air guitar became a rite of passage to go to Class VIII.
Anyway, all this misses the point of the Monday rant one of them being - if you don't know how Google Adsense or Adwords works stop leaving stupid comments. Thanks. And also I must add that with the elections and the IPL (and as the media grows a spine - even the genocide in Sri Lanka, though India's seemingly tacit approval of this is because I guess Madamji wants her husband's murderer dead before she loses power), Feroz Khan's death did not get enough air-play. No really. During my stint in Bombay I had the fortune (well, depends on which way you look at it) to bump into the man on a few occasions. Pity, he was a lot of things, much of that can't be written here, but also a fun guy to hang with. If you had similar interests.
PS: Wandering into The Chambers every once in a while is good fun. Just to see what is going on at other tables.

Friday, April 24, 2009

So if the newspaper is so bad...

Can you trust the soon to be launched (yet delayed) TV channel?

Excerpts from the SEBI report courtesy a reader. Read para 35 onwards.

As seen below in this order, another person Shri Rajesh Unnikrishnan, also appears to have facilitated the publication in the media of the forged letter that was sent to Shri Saminathan. Shri. Rajesh Unnikrishnan is presently the Assistant Editor of Economic Times. He was also a former colleague of Shri Rakesh Sharma in Business Standard. Shri. Unnikrishnan had also covered some stories for Economic Times on transfer of PSTL shares from one promoter to another, prior to the forgery. It was also further observed that Shri Unnikrishnan was in touch with Shri Nirmal Kotecha, particularly after December 10, 2008.
Shri Rakesh Sharma, before being arrested had claimed that the forged SEBI letter was e-mailed by him from Shri Nirmal Kotecha’s residence by using his own personal e-mail ID to his following media contacts, (Shri Raj Nambisan of DNA, Shri Partha Sinha of TOI and Shri Ashish Rukhaiyar of ET) before accompanying Shri Rajesh Unnikrishnan to Dalal Street side around 2:00 p.m. Based on the copies of the e-mail submitted to SEBI by the reporters, I find that the Investigation has revealed that the e-mail to Shri Partha Sinha was sent at 1:43 p.m. i.e. around the time when the tower location for all three of them as seen in the data was Matunga (East)/ King Circle. Shri Kotecha’s residence is also at Matunga (East)/ King Circle. This corroborates Shri Rakesh Sharma’s initial admission that the e-mail to Shri Partha Sinha was forwarded from the computer in Shri Kotecha’s residence, when all three of them were at his residence.
Shri Raj Nambisan of DNA informed the investigation team that he seemed to have deleted the e-mail that was sent to him. The e-mail details forwarded by Shri Ashish Rukhaiyar of Economic Times shows that the e-mail was sent by Shri Rakesh Shrama from his personal e-mail ID to Shri Rukhaiyar’s personal e-mail ID at 3:03 p.m. Further, though Shri Rakesh Sharma claimed that the forged SEBI letter was e-mailed by him to only three of his friends
in the media, I find that he had also forwarded the forged SEBI letter by e-mail to Shri Dheer Kothari (one of his ex-colleagues in Adfactors who is based in Kolkata). From the copy of the e-mail made available by Shri Dheer Kothari, I observe that Shri Rakesh Sharma had forwarded the e-mail to him at 1:43 p.m. on December 20, 2008 i.e. again at a time when all three of them were at Matunga.

Homoerotic Tribalism

One of the surprises that I found in the Supreme Court appointed committee to report on the Aman Kachroo murder was that the students were always advised to carry condoms. I have been through college and I have been ‘ragged’ physically. There was something called ‘lifting’ in SSC where a whole plethora of junk was poured on your pubes and believe me, toothpaste hurts. But beyond that, ragging has degenerated to becoming a tribal order. And the sexual element verges on the disturbing.
Why on earth did the college promote intense male-on-male and often forced promiscuity. Going to college is not going to an American prison where a big highly tattooed man will rip your posterior asunder. Being anally raped is not ‘getting to know your seniors better’. Nor was lifting, even though the guys who lifted me were friends and I’m actually still in touch with most of them. Yet, I knew it ended there. At other colleges in Delhi University’s North Campus, there was much worse, our seniors told us stories of the candle dance at KMC and beer bottle sodomy in the seediest hostel of the lot. The guys at Hindu had it pretty good, other than their chappatis.
But when it came to my ‘turn’ to rag juniors all I did was find two hatta-khatta guys to help me with my luggage and because I had gotten a first div in my second year proceeded to get drunk with and several others. I got ‘lifted’ but I still found it grotesque, and very honestly being made into a servant is acceptable, getting freshers to fill water is fine, a senior called ‘Trippy’ made me his personal joint roller, and believe me I didn’t mind that one bit. But then like now, I found the extreme homo-eroticism mildly disturbing even at St. Stephens.
But at least, we were in a city and there were girls around. In essentially all-male engineering and medical college environments, as the Kachroo case prove, we really have no clue how bad it is nor will I even try to guess. Most of my friends from school and college went to top-notch colleges and at the IIT’s things are very mild compared to shady colleges, the only guys I know who had it bad were the guys who joined the NDA, but then again that wasn’t homo-erotic but rather really strange things that soldiers end up doing which would be classified as torture by the Obama Administration. Out in Andhra and Karnataka, things I believe are really bad and while Supreme Court pronouncements make a difference in Delhi and other major cities, they don’t flow down deep into the countryside, even 50 kilometers away where residential engineering and medical colleges pop up like mushrooms. There is a problem and solving that begins with educational administrators
Which brings me to rape, and also the Bombay case where the police are trying to paint the woman as a ‘loose’ character by saying she tested positive for cannabis. Needless to say, the police need sensitivity training, and painting the woman as the criminal by saying she brought it upon herself does not work. Making out with someone is not an invitation to have sex. And what the f*** were police checking for cannabis anyway. No bruise marks – the woman might have been drugged. The milieu our beat constables come from is horrific, but a fact of life, which is why we all condone bribery, but do your job, which is to find and arrest the rapists. No matter what the character of the person who was raped, it does not mitigate the crime.
Another thing puzzled me lately, the death of Aakriti. Personally, and I have no love lost for MSVV, I don’t blame the school. What were the parents thinking when they sent a kid who had been to hospital a few days ago to school? Bad school administration? Sure, but many schools don’t have doctors and things would have been better. But I also blame bad parenting I’m afraid. Also, Sheila aunty and Renuka chichi are going to meet Aakriti’s parents, yet Shano, the poor girl who was made to stand in the sun who died the other day haven’t received such high-profile guests. Is it me, or is the life of a upper-class kid more important to both policy makers and the media? You know, there is something seriously fucking wrong in the country if it is.
And another point, why should I be ashamed if I say I support a nationalistic party and what is the big deal if such support is also given by a member of my family. I do not agree with everything the Sangh does or says, I find certain elements of the Sangh as disturbing as the next person. But I believe in the national identity of India they project. We need a pick-me-up in this country, we need to know that all lives are valuable, we need to know India means something. 1992 and 2002 will mean that the West and the genteel educated types, the ones whose homes ministers will travel to (which is why despite my antipathy towards the Congress, I do give Rahul Gandhi some credit). I don’t know if the solution will be to form an alternative right –wing force in India, maybe it is. The BJP maybe unelectable going forward as I have elucidated before.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


No, I completely agree that the 'right' of the political spectrum in India needs a serious image makeover, not just to appeal to the foreign media and genteel society but also to improve their appeal to voters at large. Names have been changed before, thirty years ago, and names and identities can be changed again. I wrote in a comment that the terms 'Sabyataa' and 'Swabhimaan' are gloriously misused by people.
Yet at the same time, parts of the organisation have played a critical role in disaster relief and have a more balanced outlook towards economic policies and possibly remains India's sole 'democratic' political institution. In fact, it is surprising that in our 'vibrant' democracy how horribly un-democratic our political parties are. True, what good are roads if you don't know if some goons who think jeans are bad and against India's 'Sabyataa' will beat you up or kill you.
Anyway, why has Rahul Gandhi's image been removed from a majority of Congress vinyls in Delhi (other than the ones where we see a ten foot high face)? I only see Sonia (whose long cherished dream of seeing the man who had her husband killed dead is about to come true) and Manmohan (whose long cherished desire to retire is about to come true). Also, why is my choice of candidate Ajay Maken and Vijay Goel? Is this like the Ugly and Uglier constituency? I mean its New Delhi for God's sake, don't demean it with ugliness! I want to get to post on politics again soon, but I will intersperse that with the latest 'must debate' topic, Ragging. But that is later when I have the time to rant on the rampant homo-eroticism on Indian campuses. For now, I'm linking to two rather interesting stories that appeared on the slightly redesigned 'The Hoot'.
Mumbai Mirror going down the India TV path.
And HT making an ass of itself. Again!
And did anyone watch Andrei Arshavin's brilliant four-goal haul for Arsenal yesterday? I was sure the Gunners would lose, but what a game! And I'm looking forward to F1 this weekend, hopefully it might just rain in Bahrain!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi is the poster-child of the BJP and if you have travelled to Gujarat in the recent past you are amazed at how far ahead of the country the state is on basic things – power for example. I went to a food processing plant in Mehsana and these guys don’t even have a back-up, no really. If you cover industries and visit as many factories as I do across the country that is an amazing fact.
Most companies in any sort of large or mid-level manufacturing and the plant I went to was a mid-level manufacturer run their own power utility. Depending on the state for power, because they promise it free to everyone who bothers to ask, is useless. Sure, you can’t find a drink at a bar, but you can pretty much find tons of booze and sex if you really wanted to. Other than prohibition, I kind of like going to Ahmedabad, not so much Bhavnagar, but Ahmedabad under Modi, now at least is a great place to go to, and industrialists all concur.
But much like the Congress will never be able to deal with 1984; Modi and his towering ambition will be thwarted unless some sort of peace is made with the demons of 2002. I’ll be honest, as a paragon of development; Gujarat is a fantastic model for the rest of idea. Good roads and power, yes the state is still relatively parched, but despite the ham-handed nature of the land acquisition for the Sardar Sarovar project, water from the Narmada should help.
Yet, whenever people broach the topic of 2002, Modi feels threatened. He claims (like Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar) no personal culpability for 2002. And an argument you often hear is that the man who presided over the home ministry in 1984 P.V Narashima Rao, (the best Congress PM we have ever had in terms of policy, much, much better than that bungling Surdie) became Prime Minister seven years later. Then again, Rao also sat around while Babri fell – so while he might have set India off in terms of progress he lost the Congress Sikh votes and then North Indian Muslim votes and the Congress hasn’t quite recovered from the latter, though this year things might be interesting.
But unloved as he was at the end of his life, I guess losing North Indian Muslim votes condemned the Congress a hell of a lot, Rao is dead now. Still unloved and unlamented, and that is one major problem I have with MMS to be honest. But in 1991, the country was in deep shit and we didn’t have ten lefty liberals on television telling us how Rao was a bad man.
That said, to ‘blame’ the media for condemning Modi (as some right-wing thinkers do) is also a bit unfair, because 2002 is an open question and even if the media don’t bring it up, you honestly expect 2002 not to be an issue if Modi was to stand for Prime Minister? The fact is by obfuscation and by rehabilitating some of the accused much like the Congress did in 1984, how is the BJP any different?
Until the BJP confronts 2002, and I really don’t know what this ‘confrontation’ entails, it will always be identified as a ‘Hindu Nationalist Party’ run by a bunch of old men in chaddis, which I think is unfair, because the ‘Hindu’ bit should go. I personally believe that the BJP has the most comprehensive vision to restore India’s glory, some of what they plan is bizarre but that is why an opposition and the media are important. Confronting the issues of 2002 will also deprive the Laloo’s Gowda’s and Paswan’s of the world, politicians who have excelled in the politics of non-development of the secular plank. I believe true ‘secularism’ is in the overall development of India, where people of all castes and creeds can have a better future for themselves and their children.
If the BJP can deal with 2002 much like they have dealt with Praveen Togadia (by telling him to shut up and he has been very obedient, and Muthalik must be muzzled also), it won’t be just 2009 that they will have a good chance. And maybe, just maybe we can get rid of these small regional parties who are being clowns. I don’t feel Narendra Modi as a future PM of India is a bad idea, because the man isn’t corrupt and he does have a vision for the future. But if that future has to come about, the past is something that has to be dealt with.

Monday, April 20, 2009


After spending a few days on the eastern coastal stretches of Orissa, the political process in India is doing quite well. Thanks to Naveen Patnaik's mix of arrogance and a hint of cockiness, I think that the Congress might get an unexpected windfall in Orissa, including the state assembly. But that is just the politics, I also over the past few days realised how bloody expensive it is to conduct an election and the General Elections might cost an estimated Rs 10,000 crore to stage, but the stimulus given to the local economies and the general global economy by Indian politics is staggering.
Take this for example, while Orissa isn't a very large state unlike Maharashtra, Rajasthan or Gujarat, the concept of good roads doesn't exist anywhere but in stretches near Bhubaneshwar. Even though places might be only 100km away, two hours drive in certain cases, a chopper has to be hired. The cost of renting a 2+2 chopper (two pilots plus two passengers) costs Rs 70,000 an hour, a day's electioneering by chopper would cost over Rs 2-3 lakhs. And that is just the el cheapo choppers. The big Eurocopter choppers used by A-list politicians cost over Rs 1.5 lakh a flying hour. And then there are the planes, the most popular plane being the Cessna Citation X, a ten seater that costs close to Rs 2.5 lakh a flying hour. So a politician (from a national party) who wants to have breakfast and dinner at 'home' in Lutyen's Zone, would spend over Rs 10 lakh in a day flying around. Multiply that and you can see costs escalate massively!
Then there are rallies, while the media can froth at the mouth about people being paid to come to rally or given 'inducements' here is the funny thing you really expect people to turn up in 40-degree weather without inducements. Heck, your journalists have to be fed otherwise they revolt and crib. A rally costs a bomb to organise, between Rs 3-4 lakhs (before people costs) and if you get a 'A-List' politico, candidates need to show a strong side and that involves bussing in people. The average thekedar charges Rs 250/head. You want a turnout of 5,000 people (enough for a Sonia or Advani rally in a small village) you will need to spend at least Rs 5 lakhs to bolster numbers after all how many party workers would you have?
You think that is unfair and treating people like cattle, the strange thing is that politicians need to do this to show that they are strong in the media. Well attended rallies mean that you are on an upswing and can make the few educated voters, those unencumbered by caste, creed or religion to vote for the winner. That 'unencumbered' voter is a rising number, maybe only 5-6 per cent of the overall voting electorate (though possibly 75 per cent of the non-voting classes) but these numbers are beginning to make a difference in some states. But most voters in India would vote blindly, much like most voters in South Dakota would never vote for a black man.
Then there are other costs. Each jhanda costs between Rs 10-15, T-shirts Rs 50-80, lapel pins (and these are apparently very popular, though for the life of me I can't figure out why) Rs 10, caps (useful in the summer) Rs 20 and so on and so forth. And with the EC effectively banning paper posters, each 3x5 vinyl poster costs Rs 500. The large hoardings put up by the likes of Ajay Maken and Vijay Goel in Delhi would set you back Rs 10,000 each. But you get fewer of those in the provinces. And that is before the costs of acquiring large stashes of alcohol, for food, and so on and so forth. And that does not include the cost of the true star of the elections is the Tata Ace, which is the electioneering vehicle of choice and a damned sight better than ancient Bajaj three-wheelers. If the Nano had been launched before the election, things could have been even more dramatic.
The average cost of running for a parliamentary seat in Orissa, before central party costs is estimated at Rs 1 - 1.5 crore. That number goes up to Rs 2.5 crores in Bimaru states and upwards of Rs 5 crore in marquee seats such as New Delhi, Lucknow, South Bombay, Bangalore South and so on and so forth. And here is the strange thing, the 'true' independent (not the 'party rebel') such as Gopinath or Meera Sanyal can not win (let alone the deposit losing tea stall owner or rickshaw puller), and thus are essentially media whores, look at the coverage they have got. And ABN Amro is owned by a failed bank that is owned by Her Majesty the Queen of England.
And the large English media channels and papers buy into the romanticism of elections and think they can make a change, but they can't because nobody in the boondocks gives a rats ass about them. Well, maybe, just maybe they do give some credibility to the ToI (and the ToI's Bhubaneshwar edition is downright horrid), but that is about it. The fact of the matter is that these elections will throw up several surprises for us here in Delhi and we care because we want to know who our new neighbours will be and how much of Suhel Seth we will have to endure on TV. But out in the provinces the die was cast long ago and it wasn't cast in the refugee camps of Kandhamal, where there was 90 per cent polling, because 90 per cent of 3000 won't win you a corporation seat. Though the Congress will probably still win that seat.
I still think the NDA will pull through and I feel that actually serves the Congress better than the UPA winning. I believe, and as usual I add my caveat that I could be wrong, that the Congress will lose, get rid of the heart patient and make Rahul baba as the Leader of the Opposition in the LS. By 2014 all the other old fogeys (and that includes Chiddu and gang) would have been dispensed with and the army of sons and daughters will take over. By 2014, hopefully several other 'old' and seemingly senile people would have gone to the great, big parliamentary debate that is hell and Rahul Gandhi (according to the Congress) will wins hands down. A UPA victory may not therefore be so good (though HT hopes otherwise, maybe because someone wants to be a Minister). But this is just a theory and as usual I could be very wrong.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Running Around

Too many of these posts of late, but I'll be out of Delhi for a few days on the campaign trail, not for work though just something I've been wanting to do for a while and decided to just get myself a ticket and go out of town. I'll write a few posts, maybe even post a few videos from the trail, more later though...

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Is there something fundamentally wrong in Income Redistribution? I mean that is what everybody wants right? Money from the rich going to the poor? So why the entire hue and cry about money being used to buy votes. Because I think of it as ‘income redistribution’, politicians rape the country for all its worth – the environment, its tax-paying classes for years on end and then they pay some money, only some, to get re-elected. You’ve seen how much richer they’ve all become, and I won’t mind a piece of it back. I’m not selling my vote, but I’ll be like a good horse that can traded and then not vote for the guy. I’m not a corrupt man after all and I'm not voting for Ajay Maken (unless Mr. Maken buys my vote), even though the though of voting for Vijay Goel is cringe-worthy.
A couple of interesting things though - Teesta going after the Commies for becoming communal, you've got to hand it to Teesta for not being a hipocrite like Karat and gang!
And the second thing is Anurag Batra's poetry. God spare me - but his site is so horrible and loaded with pointless adverts that it still takes five hours to load and the poem is at the end of a long, tedious rambling post in an extremely small font, a font size that makes this font look big.
I said this yesterday, I don't agree with what Jarnail did, but as someone said, a Sikh man made Varun Gandhi an issue and another Sikh man has put the Congress in Delhi (two Surdies have created the two biggest issues in North India these elections) on their knees (sacrifice two sure-shot seats in Delhi to win quite a few in Punjab?). However, Jarnail has managed with one 'lob' or 'chuck' to do what years of protests by the SGPC and a decade of terrorism could not do - make the Congress virtually disown Tytler and Sajjan Kumar and finally face up to 1984, in a convoluted sort of way.
Did anyone watch the Chelsea-Liverpool stunnerr last night. What a game!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Should a course in shoe-throwing now be compulsory in J-school? For Christ's sake, if you have to throw a shoe - Throw it. I mean, if you have to make a scene then make a huge one, and don't let idiots like me comment on your shoe throwing. Mr Singh, you should have taken some lessons from Mr Zaidi, who threw his shoes at 'The Great Satan' himself.
Though all said and done, while I agree that the Congress mucks up its response to the riots of 1984 every time, because they know they are on the back foot. It has been almost 25 years since the riots and the memories are still raw. Just like I'm pretty sure that the Teesta's of the world will continue to bring up Gujarat when Narendra Modi is (maybe?) the Prime Minister. Heck, the wounds of 1947 haven't exactly healed. However, the question is should journalists 'attack' those we are covering?
Well, after seeing the footage, all of it and talking to a couple of people who happened to be at the AICC office, the fact remains that people were making statements to Chidambaram rather than asking questions. Listen, I'm no fan of Chiddu Chodu, that man has pick-pocketed my wallet. But at every press conference, for politics, financial releases, cars no matter what there is always a clown who makes a long, rambling statement. I don't want to hear your statement and I'm pretty sure no-one else does either. Publishing is fairly cheap and online it is essentially free, make your statements there. This guy threw his shoe because he was reprimanded for making a statement and not asking a question. Journalists can indulge in a debate on television and in the pages of a newspaper and even a proper forum - press conferences are not the proper fora for rhetorical statements.
Then again, Chiddu's arrogance at journalists led to the shoe, and a little part of me wanted to shoe to hit him. And that is why I believe the biggest take-away from yesterday is that people should learn how to throw shoes properly. Which is why, I think all J-schools should now start a course on shoe-throwing. But, then again maybe when it comes to the easily offended right, shoes should be replaced by pink chaddi's and the aerodynamics of chaddi's and shoes are completely different. Hmmm... this is a good idea for a J-school book.

Friday, April 03, 2009


I just read the first issue of Open, and first impressions - and like I said when I saw the dummy is that in terms of sheer design it blows the pants off all the other newsmagazines in the country. As far as content, I was a bit iffy about the cover story but some of the other stories were excellent.
I will not take a call on long-term viability, as these are tough times for the media and even more established and richer brands are up shit creek, but I do feel that Open will force a hell of a lot of other products to get their design acts together.
Mint aside, most Indian newspapers are horribly laid out, in fact what surprises me about Mint is that its mother-publication despite so many changes is still 'confused' in terms of layout, but no non-lifestyle magazine has a layout that can currently touch Open. I hope thay can maintain design integrity (with ad-sales schmucks always ready to sacrifice editorial at the altar of money), in fact this is a sincere hope.
Give it a look-see, I may not agree with everything inside but I repeat it is very agreeable on the eyes.
PS: Maxim just shut down their UK edition.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Concept toh interesting hai...

In my other role, the one as a journalist that is, I cover a lot of things but somehow and I guess this happened by accident rather than anything else - "You're the youngest, you MUST know about all these gadgets", I cover technology. Now, I'm no geek but I meet some pretty cool people along the way and one of them, last year was the head of Hewlett-Packard's printing division Vyomesh Joshi and he spoke about 'Print 2.0' which frankly was a very interesting concept.
But how, you must be asking, does all of this fit in with the media? Well, one aspect of Print 2.0 as articulated by Joshi was 'printing on demand' and the creation of technologies and systems that will allow you to take an incredibly small run of books or magazines. And according to this NYT article that system has begun in the US. basically, the idea is that anyone can start a small magazine, and then pay the company that does the printing just 20 cents a page. Now, that might still seem like far too much in India, a 10 page magazine would cost Rs 100.
But prices, historically, have always gone down right? And what is the biggest barrier towards starting your own newspaper or glossy magazine? The cost of printing, small runs were never possible and a small run of even a ten page glossy magazine on a traditional press would be extremely expensive, much more so than this MagCloud service. I doubt that MagCloud will ever replace the massive printing presses for high-circulation magazines but it could give the little guy a forum, and if costs come down, even if they get halved, a lot of people will be able to produce their own magazines. I wrote about the concept for a 'best of the web' self-printed paper that is doing the rounds in the US earlier, but these are all intriguing concepts.
The old medium isn't dead just yet, but it is evolving in strange ways.
PS: And I'm sure Pakistan is on his mind, but...