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Rants of an angry Indian over the incidents in the last few weeks!

In Thoughts on December 31, 2012 by shsmani Tagged: , , , , , ,

423319_10151368624512139_1391968885_nThe World will End – It probably did!

It was said the “World will end”! Probably nobody ever thought about the magnitude of the statement. It was not the world itself in the physical sense but it probably was referring to erosion of cultural and human values – the compassion towards fellow human beings, the core human values and the sheer lack of patience and virtue.

Month of December 2012 and how it affected me:

This whole month of December 2012 was really painful. At one point I stopped reading the newspapers, stopped watching the news channels, stopped discussing about it with anyone and actually stopped people from talking about it in my presence. It was probably not the wise thing to do, but it was just overwhelming with so much negativity going on and it was getting toxic to the extent it was beginning to affect my spirit, my ability to focus on what I was doing all stemming from my anger at my own helplessness to be able to make a difference. As much as I tried to stay away from it the more I was hearing, as much as I assured myself things will get better, it only got worse.  I was no more the person I was which became more evident to others than to me. It was all very depressing! I am sure it is not just me but thousands of other Indians and others across the globe that must have been feeling the same or much worse. I decided to put down my thoughts as a way to positively and constructively drive my anger and disappointment. So here it is. If there is at least one person who reads this and takes a vow to make this place a better one, I will feel much better.

Why? What is causing this?

Before we try to jump into what can be done, it is imperative at this point that we also try to understand what is causing this in the first place? Because chasing the wrong problem will not help us solve it. As much as we say the victims are one amongst us, it is important to face the bitter truth that the perpetrators of crime are also one of us. That being the case, we as a society have blood stains in our hands and have been a reason directly or indirectly for all these crimes. There is no point blaming just the government and its agencies for all the incidents. We the people, the media, the agencies of the government have all been hand in gloves in letting happen what has happened. This is not something new today, as Aurobindo wrote on August 21,1893 when returned to India at the age of 20.

Our actual enemy is not any force exterior to ourselves, but our own crying weaknesses, our cowardice, our selfishness, our hypocrisy, our purblind sentimentalism. 1

The People:

In the hyper-kinetic world that we live in, everyone craves for recognition, attention, care and love. Our lives have become more materialistic and less holistic. We fail to see the people and their souls instead decide to see their position in the society and our materialistic gains from that. We have ceased to respect people as people but begun objectifying people as a means to selfish gains. There is a mad rush for wealth, fame, power and what not and in the process the value for one’s principles, values and virtues are lost and that vacuum is giving space to demonic thoughts!

The Media:

The media for their part knowingly or unknowingly glorify the criminal’s and help them get their shot at stardom. Then they keep moving on to news stories that kept their TRP running and would cover a story if and only if it would generate the TRPs and the necessary sponsorship to keep their boats afloat. Such is the sorry state that the media house is just another business where profit and loss statements are driving the content rather than the collective responsibility they carry towards the society. To all the Rajdeep Sardesai’s and Arnab Goswamis’s trying to keep a story alive for a few more days is not going to help achieve any action on ground. Media houses have to completely rework the way news items are being gathered and reported. There is more to news reporting than the “breaking news”, or to get in front of the cameras from on site and shout at the top of the voice, or to sit in the studio with a bunch of people arguing over a ton of things which translate to nothing, or to simply spread negativism around which makes people angry and brings down the energy levels of the entire society. The print media are not far behind either! Right now I hate to go pick up the newspaper every morning.

The government and its agencies:

I think it is a waste of time to even expect our government and its agencies to deliver anything given the lackadaisical nature of people and also the media houses of this country. Understood, the government is not doing enough, but when has it in the last 65 years of Indian Independence? Now that it is clear that the change is not flowing top-down it is time for us to take the change bottom up.

What can I do? What can we do?

That brought me to the question, what can I do? What can we do? Right now, a lot of negative energy is being created and channelized into protests, prayers, memorials, candle light vigils and tons of post of social networks like Facebook, twitter etc., etc., The media houses do their part by inviting guests to talk about the things and end up raising the decibels in every home ending up causing more headaches. While all of these have a lot of potential and I respect people taking part in these shows of solidarity to the victim and their families, I get the feeling none of this is translating into anything actionable on ground to prevent these from happening again and make it a better place to live in.

If people take some solace from posting to Facebook or taking to the road to protest, so be it, but if they really believe that this will trigger a change in the society then everyone is going to be plain disappointed! I saw a lot of posts on the day of the incident and a couple of days after that and on the black Saturday with messages like RIP, condolences and even some with crude language. I can understand the anger, but all of this is just negative channelizing of the anger. Also, all that is gone a few days after and we all get back living our lives believing all is well; while it is not. It is just a time bomb waiting to tick! We need that anger; we need that disappointment; all to be channelized in a positive manner resulting in concrete steps to curtail such activities. So what can we do?

As people: As a common man we cannot pass new laws, we cannot enforce laws, we cannot change the world overnight. But we can do some of the following:

  • Teach the next generation to respect Women and people in general.
  • Teach the kids the ill effects of violence and hatred in any form.
  • More importantly get them to “think” rationally. Help them see the big picture and not be narrow minded to what they just see or experience.
  • Channelize their failures into positive energy that will help them take on the different obstacles in life and carve success stories.
  • Include such horrific stories of in their syllabus and give them a perspective, today’s younger generation are smart enough that they can differentiate between the good and the bad and this will help building strong values at a very young age which is the key to a person’s integrity.

This way at least the coming generations will behave more rationally and don’t turn into demons and devils at the slightest taste of bitterness in their lives.

To try and address what is happening today, we have to take a bigger role than being a passive spectator. We need to

  • Take a vow that we will never be passive spectators to these unjust incidents if it happens in front of us.
  • Never encourage incorrect thoughts or words against women or anyone for that matter from people we know even if it is just for fun. A very common mistake the society commits is to laugh at lewd remarks and statements at women or other people which gives the impression it is a funny or a brave thing to do. They are not funny, they are not brave! They are hurtful and exhibit cowardice! This is what is commonly referred to as harassment or eve-teasing. Take a vow to oppose any such statements even the slightest ones.
  • For some reason I cannot comprehend, our society is not broad minded towards woman! I am totally ashamed and disappointed at this but that is the bitter truth. Most matured of men and women get shaky when having to deal with anything to do with women, be it looking at a relationship, their success stories or anything for that matter. Whatever the reason might be: insecurity, jealousness or even the fox’s story of the fruits are sour, this has to change! There is no other way! A society cannot progress when it is narrow-minded! It just cannot! See the big picture! Be holistic in your views not materialistic!
  • Shun the media houses that do not do a good job at news reporting. Let them know, that quality of content is important, show them that shouting in the studio and reporting racy news doesn’t necessarily mean better TRPs. Turn your TV sets off if that is what it takes. Once the message reaches I am sure we will get better content.
  • We probably have a chance only once in 5 years to have our say on the government. Make sure that doesn’t go wasted. We research for hours together before we want to buy anything as simple as a cell phone to things as big as a house. But do we research before casting our votes to a candidate? Have we checked how many criminal cases are pending against the candidates and what type of cases those are? We better begin doing that, it might not take more than possibly a couple of hours to see what is going on with the candidates in our constituency.
  • Finally, make good use of the social media. In the current circumstances, with the lack for good media houses, social media can be a very powerful medium if used properly. Agreed, there is a mismatch in the society in terms of wealth, power and fame. Let us not knowingly or unknowingly enlarge this problem through the social media. Share good positive things, positive energy is contagious. Refrain from sharing negative thoughts, negative energy is toxic!

As Media people:

  • The media today has a good financial backing and far and wide network coverage. They have access to information which is not available to general public. The technology has evolved so much that the media if they wish to, can put them to good use. If Obama’s campaign could use data to find out what people wanted to hear and target the audience accordingly, I am sure we can use the same data to find out what is causing this behavioral anomaly in these perpetrators of crime. That will go a long way in understanding the “Problem” and then in turn actually “solve” it. I am sure there are a number of NGOs who will be willing to partner in such studies for the welfare of the society. This will be quality content from the media houses. This will be positive use of their reach into the society.
  • Stop giving bigger than life coverage to these perpetrators of crime. You are not shaming these criminals in any way, in fact the exact opposite is happening. Instead focus on the success stories of the victims who have fought back into their lives. That will indeed shame the criminals and spread positive energy in the society.

As Government Agencies:

Again, I am not going to waste my time on this one, but if there is one thing I wish for, a little bit more sincerity towards the work government agencies do. Just that will go a long way in making this a better place to live.

References:

1 – Thanks to my friend Sudharshun for his post on FB for this quote from Aurobindo!

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Class Prevails over aggressiveness… Formula One gets as interesting as it can get!!!

In Thoughts on June 13, 2011 by shsmani Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

You self admit that your chances in this Grand Prix are minimal and go on to explain how Mercedes are best suited to compete, qualify behind your team mate at 7th Position. On race day find out it is a completely wet track, once the race starts, you collide with your team mate in which he is out of the race, move on to intermediate tyres only to find out that heaviest of rains are yet to come, get a drive through penalty for over speeding behind the safety car, go into change to wet weather tyres only to find out the race is red flagged, once the race restarts you make the first move to switch to intermediate only to have a puncture and limp your way to the pit stop, to get another set of intermediate only to find out again that a safety car is deployed, all in all making a record 5 pit stops… after all of this, yes indeed after all of this.. only in the wildest of dreams you go on to win the race.. unbelievable isn’t it? This is exactly what Jenson Button did in Canadian Grand Prix!!! Indeed a very sweet win. A classic example of class is permanent and form is temporary!!!

Following the opening 5 races where there was not a single Safety car deployment, the last 2 races at Monaco and Montreal have made up for the shortage of safety cars in the first few races. Both the races red flagged and had multiple instances of safety car deployment. At the end makes F1 the spectacle it is expected to be. Accidents, mechanical failures, punctures, over-takings, contact incidents, rain, shine, chases everything was there to seen in the last 2 races.

Thanks to the DRS and KERS, while the safety has also improved, the racing has reached new heights with results being undecided until the last moment. A great example of this was the fight between Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi for the 6th and 7th position, which Massa eventually won right down at the chequered flag. Ofcourse, the spanish grand prix was an entertainer too, moving away from the dull and monotonous race it used to be: courtesy the DRS and KERS.

In Canadian Grand Prix, we saw another master racer show his master class. Michael Schumacher was at his racing best and showed his class and mastery over his skill, that is racing. If only Mercedes can provide a fighting machine to this master, he still can reach greater heights. He showed he still prevails in wet conditions and he still has it in him. The way he stole the 2nd position away from Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa just goes on to show his experience and that his burning desire to race is still left in him. Though it is disappointing to see him not making to the podium and had to see him settle down for the 4th position, I wonder where he would he if Mercedes had not goofed up the two initial pit stops before the race was red flagged.

Well Schumacher clearly was not thinking like a champion in the initial stages of the race when he pitted twice to switch to intermediate and back to wet weather tyres only to find out that the race would be eventually red flagged. I think that is where he must have put to use his enormous experience. Clearly, if Schumi had stayed back on the track without pitting at all, there was a good chance that, he would have won this race. Another reason why he lost out 2 positions towards the end of the race was because of DRS. The DRS advantage is already huge for the car behind, giving that advantage twice, pretty much closes the door for the other car to mount a fight back. As was evident in Canadian Grand Prix, Button was able to gain an advantage of about 4 seconds in the 2 DRS zones over Schumacher, which IMO is a unfair advantage over the other driver and can turn out to be a spoil sport going forward into the season. Nevertheless, for now, that is what it is and the drivers and fans alike have to learn to live with it.

Away from the leaders, Force India was another big disappointment, where the lack of experience clearly showed in both the drivers who went on to spoil the races for themselves from very strong positions. Elsewhere, Kamui Kobayashi showed that he is indeed championship material in terms of both strategy and track racing, however was a bit unlucky as Massa, stole the 6th position and 2 valuable points away from him, thanks to the DRS.

Clearly, this was a race of Buttons and Schumachers; they showed that class prevails over pure aggressiveness. Hamilton and Alonso, both just gave away what could have turned out to be very strong finishes for both of them. Hamilton has been a bomb ticking since Monaco, now he has had 4 serious incidents in 2 races. Nicki Lauda was very vocal against Lewis suggesting that, if, he keeps going at this rate, he is going to get someone killed soon. There is a thin line between aggressive driving and foolish driving and I think both these drivers crossed that line today. Ironically, the driver who was disadvantaged by both these driver’s actions, kept his calm and went on to win the race.

Though Sebastian Vettel was almost perfect for the most part of the race, he lost his cool when it mattered the most and lost out on the race. While he is still way ahead on the championship points, this championship is anybody’s guess. So stay tuned in to the rest of the season which has a long way with 12 races to go!!!

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Button excited after the Win.

hamilton damaged car

Hamilton’s damaged car after collision with Teammate Button

safety car 

Safety car being deployed in the race

 

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Hamilton’s shunt with Webber

 

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Vettel was leading the race for all laps except for the lap that mattered the most!

 

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Schumacher in a pit stop

 

image  The race is red flagged.

 

All images are the copyrights of the respective owners and are posted here only for representation purposes.

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What does Pakistan want after all?

In Thoughts on May 16, 2011 by shsmani Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Pakistan was successful in projecting an image of inability in controlling the terror network all along. Post OBL, that is getting increasingly difficult. The entire episode of Osama Bin Laden’s “assassination” by the US forces in Pakistan has come as a complete embarrassment to the Pakistan government and military. It is funny, that unable to do anything about the US presence, one after another Pakistan officials both from the government and military establishment are threatening India with dire consequences if they try something similar.

This is after India’s Prime Minister clearly rejecting any such ideas himself. Even going by the track record of India, irrespective of the ability of the armed forces, the political circles do not have it in them to take up such an action. So why is Pakistan barking against an empty sky??? Thankfully, India has shown some maturity by not responding to such unwarranted statements from the Pakistani establishment.

Pakistan cannot do anything about the US forces, for everything in Pakistan is funded by the US. They do not have an economy. I don’t think they even have a development plan in place to take care of their country’s growth.

United States, wants to be the most dominant force in the world, India and China are vying for top spots in GDP growth, and while other countries are having similar growth goals, I guess Pakistan has a singular goal, to be the No.1 terror state in the world. I must admit they are being very successful in that.

One can certainly understand if a group of fanatics want violence and death, which is detrimental to their own growth, leave alone destroying others, but how could one nation as a whole have such a degenerative motive. India and Pakistan achieved freedom at the same time, technically, Pakistan got it earlier than India. Still, Pakistan has largely remained an under developed country thriving on financial support from US on one hand and China on the other.

Year after year ISI trained militants are push into the Indian side of LOC and ensure peace does not prevail in the region. After all, what does Pakistan want? Kashmir? I don’t think they will stop at that. Yes, Indira Gandhi did play a pivotal role in the separation of Bangladesh as a separate state, so what? Pakistan wants freedom for Kashmir, but what have they done to their own freedom? Where is the 70 years worth of freedom gone? At least Bangladesh, after being an independent state, is trying to make some economic progress, and now they are known for their textile industry and are fast catching up in a number of other segments as well. Where is Pakistan heading?

Sorry but one cannot think of Pakistan in anything but terror links and that occasional Onion export to India. How much ever one wants to de link Pakistan from terror, that is the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind. I completely fail to understand the mind set and thought process that must be going on in the minds of the Pakistani officials who are running the government and the army. For one, Pakistan is being “Used” by vested interests, who don’t want peace in the region, China and US included, so that they can keep supplying defense supplies to both the countries and their economies can thrive on that. Secondly, the religious fanatics have been influencing the Pakistan top brass, as the various terror organization now don’t have a number of options after Saudi Arabia denounced all form of terrorism and Afghanistan coming under American super vision. Can’t the Pakistan establishment really not see the ‘Big Picture’ or just turning a blind eye towards all of that and leading Pakistan towards a point of no return?

I have interacted with a number of different people of Pakistani origin, all of them have come across as very soft, friendly and likeable people. After all, they are our own distant cousins. It is sad to note, how much of a difference it makes to one’s life style and living being on different sides of the border. There seems to be fundamentally wrong with Pakistan, right from the days of partition up until today. There seem to be a lack of visionary. May be education is making the difference between the two countries, the lack of awareness and the lack of rational thinking to decide between right and wrong is making a huge impact.

I can only wish, that some day Pakistan gets a visionary who would lead them from darkness to light. Yes, being an Indian, there is a selfish motive to see peace in the region, but more so, for the millions of good souls in Pakistan who are helpless and are far from being on the same thought plane as the military leaders and other government official who are leading Pakistan into a point of no return.

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10 things Jayalalitha can and should do for TN!

In Thoughts on May 15, 2011 by shsmani Tagged: , , , , , , ,

The results are out in the open, the people of TN have expressed their intentions very clearly. While the debate is still on as to whether this was a vote against corruption or the same anti-incumbency, one thing is clear, people want a change and have chosen Jayalalitha to be their agent of change.

Tamil Nadu as a state is not as much in dire straits as Bengal. This gives Jayalalitha with a wonderful opportunity to capitalize on the strengths of the state and take it from peak to pinnacle. At a stage when competitiveness among the states is at an all time high, it not just sufficient to make the environment conducive for investment, but also to go out and woo the investors (something similar to Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor’s summit).

tamil-nadu-district-map

One would expect Jayalalitha to have matured and not be obsessed with trivial details like she did in her last term, by altering the entrance to CMBT to highlight her name board. However initial signs are not positive, for she has already ordered shifting back the secretariat to the Fort from the swanky new building for her oath taking ceremony.

As the saying goes “The one who worries about the best spot in the table is not important and the one who is important seldom worries about his spot in the table”. I think it is time to move on over such childish obsessions and work on things that carry much more importance to the well being of the state. Hoping that sooner rather than later, the focus will shift towards things of importance, here are things that should be at the top of her list.

1) State Treasury –As has been the case in the past, this time too the ADMK government will be handed over a treasury which is in deficit. Going by the track record of Jayalalitha in revenue collection, it should not come as a surprise if she can turn this situation around half way through the 5 year term. After all, it doesn’t hurt to be cash rich. This surplus in turn can be used constructively to fund a number of projects listed below.

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2) Power – Power has been one of the strengths of Tamil Nadu as a state. It was one of the very first states in the country to provide electricity to every single village under its jurisdiction. Off late there has been an increase in power outages both in the urban as well as rural areas. While a number of power projects have been initiated, it is essential to ensure that these power projects do not hit unwarranted delays and cost overruns leading to further shortage of power. In fact, if Jayalalitha can

deliver on her power promise as per her election manifesto, Tamil Nadu might actually have a useful surplus of power that can be used to trade for things that Tamil Nadu lacks in, for example water.

3) Infrastructure – While a number of projects are ongoing and planned on the infrastructure front especially in the road and highways, we are way behind schedule from where should have been. A number of these projects should have been implemented in the late 80’s and early 90’s so that we never had the congestion problem that we are facing today. However, it is essential we have a robust infrastructure in place with focus on port development and the connectivity between ports and upcoming industrial towns.

4) Education – This is another area, where Tamil Nadu is considered a leader. While there is no dearth for educational institution, the emphasis should be on making education available to all. Even today, a number of children in the rural areas are having to travel tens of kilometers to reach a proper primary school, leave alone secondary and higher secondary. Most importantly, not all educated people are employable. The government should take the help of the industry in actively imparting skills and creating awareness on what makes a student a good worker. The common remark from the people who have struggled and come up in life from the rural areas is that, we did not have awareness, we did not have anyone to guide us. If that gap can be bridged, I am sure we will see many more stalwarts from Tamil Nadu in different walks of life.

5) Industry friendliness – While not being anti industry and anti development, Tamil Nadu can do much more to woo investors into the state. While Chennai and its suburb of Sri Perumbudur is widely know as the Detroit of South Asia, we have still not capitalized on that. The fact that there was zero efforts from the government to bring the Formula One track to Chennai, which boasts of one of the oldest race tracks in the country, came as a total shocker. That would have certainly brought the focus of the entire motoring world to Chennai, and in turn Chennai could have been showcased as a major manufacturing hub, and it is only appropriate that the auto hub gets to be the home of India’s F1 race track. While Auto is just one industry, there are no dearth of opportunities for other. The need of the hour is not just to set up a single window approval system for new industries, but to widely publicize and bring investments into Tamil Nadu.

6) Agriculture – Tanjore, was called ‘Rice Bowl’ of India not without reason. It is one of the most fertile  agricultural belt in the whole country. Thanks to the lack of water (read cauvery), in the recent past that district has been anything but conducive to farming. While we have not reached the levels of farmer suicide like other states, such a situation is not far away. While water is an important problem that needs to be addressed, there are other technological advancements that can be subsidized to the farmers and also creating awareness on modern farming techniques could make the difference. Subsidizing Diesel is only making ‘snazzy gas guzzling SUV’ owners happy, nothing more.

agriculture

7) Medicare – While medical facilities in Tamil Nadu is world famous and there are medical tourism packages being promoted, a number of sections of the Tamil Nadu population still doesn’t have access to basic medical facilities. Making it mandatory for the newly graduated Medical students to serve in rural areas alone is not a sufficient measure, though that is a first step in the right direction. It must be made mandatory for corporate hospital chains (which are at par with star hotel chains) to provide, if not  swanky facilities, at least basic facilities in rural areas and the specialty doctors be requested to take tours to such remote locations from time to time and serve the poor. If college pass outs are expected to do this, it is only appropriate that the specialists and experts lead from the front.

8 ) Tourism – Tourism is not well promoted in Tamil Nadu. Contrary to the popular belief there is no dearth for tourist spots in the state. With one side of the state completely along the coast, it is surprising

rsinsouth-indian-temple-complex-tamil-nadu

there aren’t many beach resorts to cater to the domestic and international tourist population. It would be a good idea to mimic USA in setting up State and National Parks across the state. Once, the basic amenities are provided and the location is showcased, it would just be a matter of time before locales around that develops into a thriving tourism towns. Not to forget the rich temple architecture all across Tamil Nadu which is already attracting tourist from around the globe. If only, the government takes steps to promote tourism, it could be a top contributor to the state economy.

Combine this with the concept of Medical tourism, we will begin to see a number of hospitals being developed in such tourist locales which not only improves tourism but also increases medical facilities around that area, which will be a big benefit to the locals.

9) Law and order – With the growth of industry, tourism comes another challenge; that of safety and security across the state. Again, Jayalalitha has a proven track record in maintaining law and order in the state, it will subjected to testing times with population explosion. It would only be wise to ramp up the police department and bring down the crime rates in order to be people friendly, both local and tourists.

10) Environmental Development – While this is not exactly a revenue generating activity, it will certainly do a lot of good to the city of Chennai and Tamil Nadu state as a whole. With a flurry of construction activities going on in the city, dust clouds are at the highest levels. To add to that state of pollution, record number of trees are cut down to accommodate the infrastructure development. While the adverse impact of these may not be seen in the immediate future, it is certain to affect the population in the long run. Mature government is that, which not only works towards development, but towards sustainable development.

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It is not entirely the government’s responsibility to make Chennai and Tamil Nadu a better place to come live in, it is also the responsibility of the citizens from different walks of the life including workers, entrepreneurs and so on. However, the direction and the drive has to come from the top. Once government puts in the foundation and creates sufficient awareness on top of that, there is no looking back for the state of Tamil Nadu.

While these 10 things struck me as important not in the exact same order, there is more Jayalalitha can do to TN in her upcoming 5 year term for instance e-governance is one such thing. Hit the comments section below and share your thoughts on what should be her priorities.

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Top 10 worst gifts for your female friend!!!

In Thoughts on May 15, 2011 by shsmani Tagged: , , , , ,

birthday gift

The other day, along with a friend of mine, we were trying to find a good gift for one of our friends. Given the fact how knowledgeable we were in these things, we were never close to deciding on anything (poor store keeper, he showed us every single item in the store).

The so called practical thinker in me was against getting anything like flower vase, crystal vase or any other thing which doesn’t serve a practical purpose and my friend was equally clueless. So banking on my practical thinking he landed with an innocent idea of gifting a “Weighing Machine” for her. What a brilliant idea??? 😛

I can hear your mind voice already 😀 I realized what  a bad idea it was and later in the day when we all met at Tuscana Pizzeria in Nungambakkam (which is a good Italian restaurant btw), we decided to find out what our female friends’ thoughts are on this.

Apart from being ridiculed for our totally lack of sense, here are the items that came up with deodorant being at the top of the list.

So here goes the list, never gift these:

1) Deodorant

2) Weighing Machine of course 😉 (it is a bad gift idea in the first place, leave alone for a girl)

3) Cookery book

4) Dictionary or a thesaurus (again a bad gift idea overall)

5)  Gadgets (it seems iPod is an exception, and strictly no gaming consoles)

6) Home appliances (Kitchen appliances a strict no no)

7) Beauty supplies ( there seems to be some different opinions on this, nevertheless)

8 ) Re-tweeting is cool, re-gifting is not (whatever the item might be, and even if you still do it, remember to remove your incoming name stickers)

9) ___________

10) ______________

Well the title suggests Top ten, but then I could gather only 8, never mind when ever I hit the number 10, I don’t have to change the title (my laziness instinct)!

Share your ideas in the comments below!

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Recalls – How about applying this concept to the electoral process?

In Thoughts on April 28, 2011 by shsmani Tagged: , , , ,

This past year, we have been hearing about a lot of recalls, predominantly in the automobile space. So what is this recall? Recall is the process of taking the car out of the roads back to the company facility for unsatisfactory performance or probable concerns!

How about we apply this same concept to the electoral process? We elect MPs, MLAs, and elected representatives to the various civic bodies in our country. How good would it be if we had a recall switch to recall and throw a MP or MLA or any other elected representative for that matter, out of office for non-performance. Think about it, there is so much we can achieve by this; we could have prevented the huge scams like the 2G from happening.

Few critics could argue that tApplying Recall to the electoral Processhis would add the additional cost of re-elections and the subsequent burden to the tax payers. I would like to remind them as to how much of our taxpayers’ money has already gone into the pockets of vested interests as a result of these scams. One way or the other, the tax payers hard earned money is not fully and properly utilized so why not have a control mechanism in which, tax payers get to have their say more frequently than the 5 year period. This way at least there will be some pressure to perform.

The concept of recall in the electoral process is not completely new, rather not new at all. According to Wikipedia, the process of recall elections dates back to the Athenian democracy and is prevalent in a number of constitutions across the globe today. They include counties like USA, Venezuela, and parts of Canada and Switzerland.

More recent example of a successful recall is the 2011 recall of Carlos Alvarez, mayor of Miami-Dade county, Florida. Imagine, if we had a similar process in India, we could have by now removed a number of our “tainted” ministers who should never be in office in the first place. The term “tainted” minister pains me. How could a person be guilty of malpractice, dishonesty and deceit hold a public office and be an elected member?

Lokpal Bill and Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption are our first steps toward the right direction. However it will be rendered meaningless if the enforcement of the laws are weak. How do we keep it under check? It is through such tighter control over the elected body via processes like recall elections.

Ideally the setup for India should be to have the ability to recall independent elected members, rather than the entire government. That way re-election spending can be reduced and people can send out feelers if they are unhappy with the performance of the government.

Well, this is the rants of yet another Indian of the 1.2+ billion Indians. Hope to see the light of the day when India grows to its fullest potential, sooner rather than later!