Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Deja Vu!

It’s barely been a few hours since the rubble has settled on the bomb blasts in the country. The ‘impact crater’ extends far beyond the blast radius. People are still fearful of leaving their homes in all cities across the country. Life is limping back to normalcy. TV news channels have gone into a feeding frenzy mode for snippets of information.

Amidst all this, I found certain very pertinent viewpoints of stakeholders. (Not the common man – He isn’t a stakeholder – He is a victim) This is what they ‘said’:

Spokesperson of Opposition Party: “We have been telling the government time and again that the lack of security is a major issue. But it fell on deaf ears. We have suggested setting up a central agency to tackle this problem since the co-ordination between state governments is not adequate to control this menace. But the government has failed to act!”

Spokesperson of Ruling Party: “I find Mr. Opposition Spokesperson’s political mud-slinging at this delicate juncture to be inappropriate. We need an all-party task force to discuss how we can pre-empt terrorism. The aim should be to pre-empt terror strikes and not setting up agencies and laws. This requires considerable deliberation. We are open to options but we need co-operation from all parties.”

Spokesperson of Law Enforcement: “We have had considerable success in the past while cracking such cases. We have convictions in all of the cases that have happened in the recent past. We have been successful in dealing with this.”

Leader of Democracy: “I commend the people of this state for the resilience they have shown. These terrorist acts are aimed at destroying our social fabric, undermining communal harmony and demoralising our people.”

Haha. What they really meant to say is (Not that this was not all that apparent!)


Spokesperson of Opposition Party: “Boy, thanks for giving us this. Major blunder! We are going to make this our election agenda in the upcoming state and Lok Sabha elections. You thought you outsmarted us with the nuclear deal, now take this! Bye bye ruling party!”

Spokesperson of Ruling Party: “Ooops, when did they sneak this one in? Useless law enforcement and intelligence agencies! Let’s try and put this one on the opposition party! And with just one year left in my term I will let them take the first step towards a central agency. Oh no, I am not stepping into that ‘central agency’ trap. We will see who has the last laugh!”

Spokesperson of Law Enforcement: “Let’s focus on our past and try and wriggle out of this one. We have a steady supply of small fish, scapegoats and purse-snatchers to appropriate blame to. Then we can again focus on our ‘successes’. Anything else might be risky for my lifestyle habits! Oh, I need to look-up the meaning of ‘pre-empt’ someday.”

Leader of Democracy: “Yeah you guys are tough to put up with this. Compensation still works out to be cheaper for me. A central agency is mighty costly. Oh and remember that terrorist acts are aimed at destroying our social fabric, blah blah …”

We have to fight this out ourselves! 

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fart 'em up!

Michael I-want-to-be-Tarantino Davis has directed this horrendous video called 'Shoot ‘em up'. For obvious reasons I choose not to put this in the ‘movies’ category. A mish-mash of “Tarantino-like-violence”, “Scharzenegger-trademarked-one-liners” and “Mithunda-special-outlandish-stunts” is what this is.

Haha. The movie starts with Clive Owen being at the wrong place at the wrong time. (What else is new?) And attempts to save a pregnant woman from an army of blind toughies complete with fake ponytails and shiny, black leatherite jackets. Blind because they couldn’t hit the ground from the roof of a barn, if they wanted to. Which is why they needed an army to kill a pregnant woman in the first place. Clive Owen then fights the baddies (What else is new?) and dispatches them to their maker with the ease of an ATM machine counting bills. And delivering a baby while doing all of this! That’s where he becomes better than an ATM machine. (So this is new!). And then he tops all of this with a cheesy one-liner. You are officially doomed.

The movie has more such new concepts and more such one-liners. (More than you can stand!) It also has a gun-fight … hold your breath … while falling from an airplane. Plain old creative-load-shedding is what I would call it. There is also a scene where Clive Owen is involved in a head on collision between his car and a van full of blind thugs. He flies through the windscreens and lands in the van and kills the thugs like the ATM Machine … you get it.

There is also Monica Bellucci in this movie with an accent that’s heavier than the ATM Machine. (Am I overdoing this ATM Machine thingy?) Other things of note in this video are that Clive Owen chomps on carrots much like Bugs Bunny did. Adding a much needed comic relief. He even uses a carrot to give a thug a cerebral hemorrhage. And if that did not kill him, the one-liner that came next must have. “Have a Carrot” it seems!

I also found Clive Owen to bear a striking resemblance to another beacon of acting talent from Bollywood. Krishen Kumar. Here are the pictures for you to compare! Overall the video is as boring as a ... constitution. (Were you thinking ATM Machine?) Avoid at all costs. 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Photo-post: Flower Power!

Trying out a whole new type of a post here. I clicked some of these flowers during my stay at Narayangaon. Most of these flowers were about a cm in size, to give you a sense of proportion. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Inflating Inflation in India

Another run-away-red-hot topic for my blog! (Wonder why my blog readership is still limited to me and my family). Inflation is something that I have been planning to write about for a long time. But I was worried about the increasing prices. 

The official explanation for the run-away inflation in India is that of the increasing crude oil prices. And in response, the RBI and the Finance minister are furiously working the interest rates to reduce money supply. Thus reducing demand (so they say) to match supply. But to no effect!

Haha. Well, I don’t think that is not responsible for the situation, but there is an underlying disease that is causing these symptoms. Tinkering with the interest rates and duties will not help. It helps only in text books with a lot of other variables remaining constant. In real life it is not a money supply problem. Common sense says, people are not consuming greater and greater amounts just because they have money to burn. The reason behind inflation is not increased demand but reduced supply of food and other basic necessities. And the reason behind the reduced supply is an infrastructure which is crumbling faster than a damp chocolate cookie. Nudging repo rates and levies will not help.

And as the Congress government goes into election stupor do not expect any more of those infrastructure investments either. Part of the reason why it is going to be difficult to catch up to China in terms of development is because the Congress governments over half a century of their soporific rule have denied India the vary basic infrastructure that is needed to support real economic growth. Mumbai will never become Shanghai as early as 2020. Sorry it ain’t happening. 

To avoid going the Zimbabwe-way, India needs to invest more in roads (Thus reducing precious fuel wasted in traffic jams), alternate sources of energy, domestic sources of gas and petroleum, nuclear and hydro-electricity. That won’t happen because there is a conflict of interest here. Sunset politicians will never remove infrastructure woes, because that is their election plank. They much rather hunt Chinkaras and make merry in their opulent farmhouses. 

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happening Happens to a Hapless me!

‘The Happening’ happened to happen to me this weekend. My weekend became that much less happening as a result of that. M Night Shyamalam – I guess something’s happened to him. His first few movies received rave reviews and all the praise for being different. But since then he has been constantly moving away from mainstream cinema. So much so, that now he is appealing to vegetative matter with his new movie ‘The Happening’.

Now comes the mandatory ‘Rescue Warning’! If you are about to watch the movie, read on and spend the money you save on Pan Parag!

Haha, the story starts with a constipated Mark Wahlberg (Entirely unbelievable as a teacher) who teaches his kindergarten class about the correct steps to a successful experiment. Wish Shyam-babu knew about experimentation! He wouldn’t have done this to us. 

Well the story is about something that happens (It ought to, it’s called ‘The Happening’) in the north eastern states in US. Something is causing people to stop ‘dead’ in their tracks, take a few steps back, and then kill themselves. (Actually this was a clever trick to save special effects money.) 

‘The Happening’ happens on. People are chucking themselves off buildings, shooting themselves, throwing themselves onto oncoming tractors and trains. Apparently they are not a happy lot. Mark Wahlberg and Zoey Deschanel decide to escape (Duh!). Their kitchen squabbles however continue in the face of suicide-mania. They are to suicide-mania, like Rambo is to wars. Been there done that. 

The story meanders like a drunk on a Saturday night. It is later learnt that trees can release toxins in the air that can cause people to stab themselves with knitting needles. (‘Wow’ moment. Pause to admire). You get to see lots of people standing still and trees swaying in the wind. No tomato ketchup has been harmed in the making of this movie. (Too clever by half – Shyam-babu has saved a bundle on special effects. But he isn’t getting this one past us!)

Well someone had to clobber the meandering drunk of a story! And that happens as well. The movie ends, 80 minutes late, (Movie is about 90 minutes) when all of these ‘happenings’ stop without reason. And we have a logical conclusion to the kitchen squabble thrown in.

This is a typical you-kill-my-family-I-kill-your-family revenge saga, with apples and oranges in the lead role. This is my good deed for the day, saved the dwindling readers of my blog some money!