Archive for » April, 2011 «

Slipper hurled at Kalmadi..

Slipper hurled at Kalmadi…

Suddenly another member of the shoe family managed to squeeze itself in the news.A person hurled a chappal at Kalmadi when he was attending the Patiala House courts in connection with CWG scam proceedings.

Here is the piece of news from ET :

Slipper attack on Kalmadi latest in similar assaults.

NEW DELHI: The hurling of a slipper at arrested former chief of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Suresh Kalmadi is the latest in a series of similar attacks – with footwear or in extreme cases a knife – on well-known personalities by disgruntled people to vent their anger.

In Tuesday’s case, Kapil Thakur, an unemployed man from Madhya Pradesh, flung a slipper at Kalmadi as he was entering the Patiala House court premises after his arrest a day earlier by the Central Bureau of Investigation for alleged financial irregularities in the granting of contracts for the October 2010 Games.

Thakur first tried to break the police cordon around Kalmadi, and when he failed, chucked a slipper.

Similarly, on March 24, 2011 yoga guru Baba Ramdev had a close shave when a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper, Mitu Singh Rathore, hurled his boot at him angered by his long speech on corruption instead of on yoga at a camp in Nagpur. Rathore was a follower of the yoga lessons of Ramdev.

In April 7, 2009, a Sikh journalist, Jarnail Singh, from Hindi daily Dainik Jagran threw a shoe at union Home Minister P. Chidambaram who was speaking with journalists at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi. However, the shoe did not hit the minister.

Singh was miffed at the CBI’s clean chit to Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case and wanted to debate the issue with Chidambaram, who refused.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was also targeted on Aug 15, 2010 when a suspended police constable, Abdulla Ahad Jaan hurled a shoe at him during the Independence Day celebrations in Srinagar.

The police said that Jaan was mentally unsound and had a case of extortion filed against him.

However, there have been some cases where the attacks were violent, threatening the life of the victim.

On Feb 8, 2010 former Haryana DGP S.P.S. Rathore, convicted in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case, was attacked and seriously injured when a young man posing as a journalist stabbed him thrice in the face with a pocket knife outside a court in Chandigarh.

The assailant identified as 29-year-old Utsav Sharma, a resident of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, was said to be suffering from a psychological problem – termed “mood disorder syndrome”.

On Jan 25, 2011 Sharma repeated the act. This time he attacked Rajesh Talwar, father of murdered teen, Aarushi, outside a Ghaziabad court attacking him with a sharp edged cleaver.

The attack left Talwar bleeding profusely as he suffered injuries to his face and hand.

 
I have earlier posted about a few of such happenings on my blog. Seeing to this new incident,I could not restrain my self from commenting on it.
 
Here is what I wrote to ET on the matter and it is now live on the website:
 

First,shoes were used as weapons of mass destruction of the corrupt and now it is the turn of the humble lowly chappal.I am reminded of several idioms and phrases on the subject of shoes,which now need to be suitably modified in praise of the chappal. Think it over please. Sample some of them at random as I give them a twist and a turn here and there: 1 as comfortable as an old chappal. 2. drop the other chappal. 3. fill someone’s chappals. 4. For want of a nail the chappal was lost; for want of a chappal the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the man was lost. 5. have the chappal on the other foot. 6. If the chappal fits, wear it. 7. chappal is on the other foot. 8. step into someone’s chappals. 9. wouldn’t want to be in someone’s chappals.10. the chappal is on the other foot. Last but not the least,only the wearer knows where (and now why) the chappal hurts !
 
To read my comments on ET’s website, go to the following link: 
 

I am sure the chappal thrower will become as famous as those who first threw similar missiles at others to vent their ire.

Interestingly,several jokes are doing the rounds on several sites.Sample some of the good ones :

1.Thrower alleges that K has stolen first slipper of the pair.Us ka chappal koi lauta do. 

2.Police has arrested the man who threw a slipper at K but missed.He might get a second chance to use the other slipper if they are put in the same cell.

3.And K thought only he was good at shoe-sha !

4.Will chappal throwing be seen as a competitive sport at the next CWG ? Fingers crossed.

5.Sole therapy might just set  K right.

6.Wonder in which bank locker will K keep this chappal in !

7.Even the slipper winced at the thought of hitting K.

We surely have a funny bone in all of us !

To Deepika…

To Deepika……
 
“Deepika Padukone faces chapati challenge” was a news item in HT of 23rd April 2011.To read the item and my comments on it on website of HT,please go to the following link:
A similar item was there in another news paper DNA.To read the item,see the video and read my comments go to the following link:
However, I was not happy with the comments made on the websites of the newspapers.So I penned a poem on this hilarious situation in Hindi.Here it is :
 
“Actress Deepika Padukone was embarrassed when she couldn’t make a roti for a cooking scene in an upcoming film”.This item was not less than a Breaking News item on the TV as well as in the news media.
  
Here is my take on this situation :
  
Deepika,Deepika,aap kaahey ko rotee ?
 
Agar aap sey,nahin pakti,gol gol roti !
  
Agar aap ki mummy nein kuchch sikhlaya hota,
 
Tau aap key nasseb mein,yeh din naan aaya hota.
  
Haath mein belan,agar bachpan mein thamaya hota,
 
Tau roti kya,parothaa bhi,aap ko banaana aaya hota !  

Badminton racquet chalana,champion life,banaa sakta hai,

Gol gol roti belna,aap ko ek achchi  wife banaa sakta hai. 

Sochney waali yeh bhi, ek aur baat hai,

Ki Sidhdharth Mallya ki aisi kya aukaat hai ? 

Shaadi key baad,kya woh aap sey gharelu kaam karwaayegaa?

Kya aap ko filmon sey nikaal karr,rotiyaan pakkwaayega ? 

Dumm maaro dumm waali Deepika,aap mein hai dumm,

Mallya agar karodpati hai,aap bhi nahin kuchch kumm ! 

Aapkey ek haath mein belan,aur doosrey mein racquet,

Kya jhel paayegaa,woh aap ki double dumm daar taaqatt ? 

Deepika baby,zor laga karr,chalaao apna racquet ya balla,

Ki mach jaaey,saarey Bollywood mein,aisa ek halla ! 

Roti gol naan banney,tau zara naan ghabhraao,

Jhatpat sey fone ghuma karr,dhaabey sey mangwaao ! 

Agar zaroorat aan padey,kabhi rotiyaan banaana,

Sidhdharth sey keh do,piya jee,market sey Roti Maker laana. 

Aap aatey key pedey banaayein,woh machine mein unko dabaayein,

Exercise ki excercise, aur gol gol rotiyaan, sung sung khaayein !! 

Here is a literal translation of the above poem in English : 

Dear Deepika,why are you crying if you cannot make perfectly round rotis (chapatis) ?If your dear mum had taught you something early in your life,you wouldn’t have faced such a situation now.Had she given a rolling pin in your hands instead of a badminton racquet,you would have not only learnt to make rotis,but also to make parothas ! Using a badminton racquet can turn you into a champion in life,but with a rolling pin in your hands,you can roll round rotis and prove yourself to be a dutiful wife. However,there is another side to this story as well.I wonder whether, Sidhdharth Mallya can be so selfish ?After marriage,will he make you do all the household chores? Will he ask you to make round rotis for him ? Deepika,you are the  “Dum Maaro Dum” girl,you have it in you.If the Mallya boy is a millionairre,you aren’t any where less.If you wield a rolling pin in one hand and a racquet in your other hand,will he dare to face your double strength? So,dear Deepika,smash your racquet with such a speed and force so that there is a lot of hullabaloo in the entire Bollywood ! In case you are still cannot make perfectly round rotis,don’t get dis-heartened a wee bit ! Just telephone the friendly neighbourhood dhabha walla and get them delivered to your home. In case,you are still forced to make rotis,tell your dear hubby to buy a Roti Making Machine from the market for you.Then you can just roll the dough into balls while he can press them into the machine to get round rotis.Pressing the lever of the machine,will be an exercise for his biceps and besides you can both share hot and perfectly round rotis together.

Isn’t that a good idea?

 

I am giving links to a few youtube videos for my readers in general and to Deepika in particular so that she can learn a few things about roti making.

1. Roti or Chapati or Pulka/Fulka(Indian soft bread) (By a cookery expert):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwtelJNe7ls&NR=1&feature=fvwp

 
2.Roti Making Lesson (By a housewife):
 
 
3.How to make ROTI / CHAPPATI (By a dhabawalla):
 
4.Puffy Roti at Home (using a Roti Maker machine):
 
I was also reminded about an old Hindi movie titled “ROTI”.Here is a brief story line :  

Bollywood Classic – Roti 1974 – Synopsis – Mangal Singh – Rajesh Khanna, has been a criminal, whose criminal career began by stealing food to keep from starving, and hence got him deeper and deeper into the criminal world. His crimes have caught up with him and he is sentenced to be hanged. He dramatically escapes with the help of an underworld don, Suraj – Pinchoo Kapoor, and is on the run from the police. He lands up in a small village in Northern India, and becomes a school-teacher with the help of a local girl, Bijli – Mumtaz. He takes on the identity of Ramu, a friend of Shravan, and goes to live with Shravan’s parents, Lalaji – Om Prakash and Malti – Nirupa Roy, little knowing that they are the parents of a man he killed while escaping from the police.

I think you will love watching this clip from the movie which was a hit of those times,when Rajesh was billed as a SUPER STAR:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjCP_YujKOQ

Here are some visuals of Deepika and her love life :

The seven blessings of marriage..

The seven blessings of marriage
 
Here is a compilation of seven blessings of marriage.First in Hindi,then translated into English:
  
Shadi ke saat sukh
 
1. subah subah garam pani milega (bartan dhoney ke liye)
2. pyarey pyarey bachey milenge (aapko gadha banane ke liye)
3. har roz biwi aapsey pyar sey bolegi (rashan laney ke liye)
4. biwi aapki bahon mein bahen dalegi (kharcha pani ke liye)
5. aap gana gana shuru kar dogey (bachon ko sulaney ke liye)
6.woh roz tyaar ho kar  samney ayegi (shopping pey jaane ke liye)
7. aapko bhi whisky ka mazza aayega (kuchch pal gham bhulaney ke liye) 

The seven blessings of marriage
1.you will get hot water every morning. (for washing the dishes)
2.you will have lovely children. (to ride on you as if riding on a donkey)
3.your wife will talk sweetly to you everyday.(to fetch things for your home)
4.your wife will take you lovingly in her arms. (to ask for her pocket money)
5.you will start singing. (to put your children to sleep at night)
6.she will come before you daily beautifully decked up.(to go for her shopping spree)
7.you will enjoy your daily peg of whiskey. ( to make you forget your sorrows a while)
                                                                                             

 
Happy married life….to you. 
  

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

DISASTER MANAGEMENT 

The latest issue of Business Today has a very interesting cover story titled :”Are We Disaster Ready”.          

                      

Various types of disasters which a company or a corporate  entity can face, have been given as examples. 

1.The CEO is at a beach resort with no phone links when a tsunami strikes.

2.T he entire board of directors is on a company jet when it goes off the radar screens.

3.Your main data centre catches fire,and floods cripple your back-up location.

4.Maoists kidnap the chairman and are demanding a Rs 4 crore ransom.

5.The plant manager’s car has been involved in a traffic accident and a mob could lynch him any moment.

6.Pirates have boarded  the container ship  bringing critical machinery consignment for your factory.

7.A vagrant shop floor worker has contaminated a medicine production line.The plant could lose is US FDA approval.

8.The hot-tempered CFO got into a fight with customs at Riyadh.It’s two days and there is no news of him. 

These are real world examples and we have often read or heard about them.For the companies/corporates that face such situations,its a real period of stress and trial. 

I liked the article and so dashed off a letter to the editor of BT as usual.This is what I wrote:   

Dear Sir,
This refers to your very timely and interesting cover story titled :”Are We Disaster Ready ?” in BT issue dated 1st May 2011.
 
With what happened in Japan recently,the entire world and major corporates have woken up to the subject of Disaster Management.
 
Development and Disasters go hand in hand.In fact someone said :”Disasters are like ATMs-Can happen ANY TIME,ANY WHERE,ANY HOW.”
  
There is therefore,an urgent need for following the basic “Boy Scout Motto” :”Be Prepared”-which means one should always be in a state of readiness in mind and body to do one’s duty during disasters.
  
Disaster is a sudden, calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, and destruction and devastation to life and property. The damage caused by disasters is immeasurable and varies with the geographical location, climate and the type of the earth surface/degree of vulnerability. This influences the mental, socio-economic, political and cultural state of the affected area.
  
Generally, a disaster has the following effects in the concerned areas:
1.  It completely disrupts the normal day to day life,
2.  It negatively influences the emergency systems,
3.  Normal needs and processes like food, shelter, health, etc. are affected and deteriorate depending on the intensity and severity of the disaster.
  
It may also be termed as “a serious disruption of the functioning of society, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected society to cope using its own resources.”

It takes decades to build a country or a business but just a few seconds/minutes to cause it to come tumbling down like a pack of cards.Hence being prepared is better than regretting later when a disaster strikes us unawares.”A stitch in time saves nine”-the common proverb in our daily lives, has immense significance,when we refer to natural or man made disasters.
 
“Prevention is better than cure” it is also said, but often disasters cannot be prevented or avoided,though their risk and effect can be mitigated to some extent.
 
DISASTER MANAGEMENT should be introduced as an important subject in schools, colleges and in all B Schools,at the earliest.AWARENESS about various types of disasters and the strategies needed to face them, is the need of the hour,since “Fore-warned is fore-armed.”
 
It appears that most of us have not learnt any lessons from the Chernobyl disaster,a nuclear accident that occurred nearly 25 years ago on 26 April 1986,at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the then Ukrainian SSR.
 
Let us hope and pray that India is spared from grim tragedies of such disasters.Amen.
 
J S BROCA
NEW DELHI   

 

I shall wait to see whether my letter is published in future issues of BT or not.  

Meanwhile,your reactions to this posting in particular and the subject in general,will be appreciated. 

Let us hope and pray that the companies/organisations we are working in or working for are spared from such disasters !! 

 

My comments on website of ET…

My comments on website of ET…

Recently,there was an article titled :” How banking next will click” by TV Mohandas Pai, who was recently in the news ,due to his retirement / resignation (?) from the board of INFOSYS !

The article was published in Economic Times (ET) of 18th April 2011.Since,I am an ex-banker and since it is said that “once a banker,always a banker“,I read the piece with great interest.The article is quite lengthy and hence I am giving the link to it so that those really interested,can go and read it in detail :

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/8014787.cms

The article is spread over 2 pages and my comments appear on both the pages below the piece.I was the first to comment on it,but since then, two more comments have been added on the website.

This is what I first drafted :

Dear Sir,yes,the author has rightly expressed his views on the challenges before the Banks in the coming decade.Besides, winning back the trust of the customers and creating a highly transparent working environment,the banks will also have to focus on the  framework of ethics. It will need to be ensured that banking business will be conducted fairly and according to certain self imposed and recognized moral standards.
A few unethical elements in the present day banking such as cheating,stealing,bribing,corrupting etc.will need to be weeded out through a stringent and well defined code of conduct for the entire staff and the management of the bank.Banks will also need to understand their social responsibility.This would mainly begin with the focus on assuring every customer, the safety of his funds and investments.
 
A well designed and responsive grievance redressal system and mechanism will also be essential to impress upon the customers that their genuine complaints will be attended to on top priority. Other important areas are improving productivity of each branch,improving quality of service,improving efficiency of all operations and last but not the least, earning the goodwill of its customers and in the process, improving its brand equity.
 
Further,with increased competition from other banks coming up in near future,there should be a well defined code of lending with the most fair and best practices in place.
 
As regards audit of the banks operations,a more closer scrutiny of its records and books will need to be ensured by availing services of Chartered Accounts with impeccable background and unblemished past performance.
 
Above all, a higher level of awareness will need to be created amongst the staff of the banks to convey the feeling that they are the true custodians of the wealth of its customers and that they will always act responsibly to protect the health of the financial system.
 
J S BROCA
Retired Chief Manager
Bank of India,
New Delhi. 
However,the website stipulates that maximum characters count should be 1500.So I had to shorten my comments to fit in with the stipulation.
Ulitmately,this is what I submitted and which was finally published on the website :
The author has rightly expressed his views on the challenges before the sector.Besides, winning  trust of customers and creating a  transparent  environment,they will  have to focus on ethics,ensuring that  business will be conducted fairly and according to certain self imposed and recognized moral standards.
Unethical elements like cheating,bribing,corrupting etc.will need to be weeded out through a stringent, well defined code of conduct.
Banks will also need to understand their social responsibility by assuring every customer, the safety of his funds and investments.
A well designed and responsive grievance redressal  mechanism, improving productivity,quality of service,efficiency of operations and lastly, earning the goodwill of its customers and  improving its brand equity,are other areas needing attention.
Further,with increased competition,there should be a well defined code of lending with the most fair and best practices in place.
As regards audit of the banks operations,a more closer scrutiny of its records and books will need to be ensured by availing services of Chartered Accounts with impeccable and unblemished past performance.
Above all, a higher level of awareness will need to be created amongst the staff of the banks to convey the feeling that they are the true custodians of the wealth of its customers and that they will always act responsibly to protect the health of the financial system.
J S Broca
Retired Chief Manager
Bank of India
New Delhi
———————————————————————————————
I enjoyed the experience ! It gives immense pleasure and satisfaction to see my name there on ETs website. Your comments and feed back will be appreciated.
 
 

God has a sense of humour !

God has a sense of humour ! 

I often wonder.Does the Master of the Universe,up there,have a sense of humour? I asked some of my students this question,last week.You will be astonished to know about the variety of responses that I got. 

One smart alec had a sound sense of logic.He replied :”Sir,we all know and accept that God created everthing on heaven and on the earth. He created Man.Man has a sense of humour, therefore, God must have given man that emotion. I therefore definitely think that God has a sense of humour.” Agree ? 

Another keen observer,about the things around us,came out with a hilarious example of God’s sense of humour.”Sir,I would like to invite your attention to a few species of animals.Look at their physical features.The ostrich for example.Tall,long neck,small head,beady eyes.It is distinctive in its appearance and has the ability to run at maximum speeds of around 100 kilometres per hour,the top land speed of any bird.It is a bird,but it cannot fly.Wow ! God must have designed it in one of his rare moments of imagination,I feel.” How’s that ? 

Continuing in the same vein,he next said : “Take the case of another animal-the hippopotamus,Sir.It has a physical resemblance to a pig.The hippo is recognizable by its barrel-shaped torso, enormous mouth and teeth, nearly hairless body, stubby legs and tremendous size ! It often reminds me of a pygmy sized sumo wrestler ! I understand that despite its stocky shape and short legs, it can easily outrun a human being.Hippos have been clocked to run at 30 kilometres per hour over short distances.Doesn’t the animal look so funny ? Hence I am of the firm opinion that yes,God indeed has a sense of humour !” Can you argue against the student’s case ? I think not. 

 

Another student,perhaps a keen watcher of the Natural Gegraphic TV Channel,added : “Sir,another example is the the duck-billed platypus. An odd anmal, you see.It is the only mammal that lays eggs instead of giving birth to live young ones.Funny,don’t you agree ?” I nodded in agreement !  

Well,I next changed the topic a little bit. I threw a googly :”Tell me,if indeed God has made man in his own image and we have just accepted that God has a sense of humour,then why is it so that some people are humourless ?” There was total silence in the class for a few moments.The students seemed stumped for an answer.Finally,a last bencher raised his hand to answer my so called “out of the syllabus”question sort of.“Well,Sir,those who are humourless may have been absent when humour was being handed out.Or,perhaps,God might have run out of stock.The more the demand,the less the supply,the lesser the allocation of scarce resources.Simple economics,Sir !” Can you beat that ? No,certainly not !  

To make the moment a bit lighter,I said:”If you all agree,let us pray to God to grant some quota of humour to these humourless people, when he has a fresh and abundant stock next time !” They smiled.I smiled too. 

Taking the discussion further,I ventured to comment that we normal human beings often pictured God as a serious and sad looking old man,over burdened with the incredible and arduous task of managing this huge, vast, complex universe of ours and providing adequate livelihood for all his creatures.To this a pretty young thing in the class said :”Sir,God is neither old nor young. It is the passing of time that makes one young and then old. God exists outside the frame of time. God exists in eternity.Further,I believe that God is not a serious person, at least in the sense of being burdened with a task that is too gigantic for him. Is it more difficult to manage the universe than to create it out of nothing? And most of all God is not sad. God is perfectly and eternally happy, and enjoys a divine sense of humour. The sense of humour we have, if we have one, is but an imperfect participation in God‘s sense of humour.” A thunderous applause in our class followed this argument. 

I next posed a question to the class : “So what exactly is humorous? ” A serious looking boy sitting on the first bench,got up and made an attempt to answer it.” Humorous is that which is unexpected, incongruous and preposterous.Sir, when we go to see a circus, for example, it is the incongruity of the clown with his baggy pants,bulbous nose,his long shoes, and painted face,that is humorous. When we go to see a comedy movie say,we laugh at the funny actors since they always do the unexpected, the incongruous and the preposterous. That makes us laugh and forget our tensions.Well that is exactly what humourous is !” I made a thumbs up sign at the boy.He smiled and sat down satisfied with my response.

To conclude,then,a sense of humour is simply a sense of truth, a sense of reality that enables us to discern the untrue, the unreal, the incongruous and the preposterous. So,friends,God has a perfect sense of humour.Moreover,God is All Truth and is the “really real,” the source of all reality. 

Before,I sign off, here is a small dose of God’s humour.If you have heard of it before,then too,you can enjoy it and laugh at it once more.OK? 

God was in the process of creating the universe. And he was explaining to his subordinates “Look everything should be in balance.For example, after every 10 deer there should be a lion. Look here my fellow angels, here is the country of the United States. I have blessed them with prosperity and money.But at the same time I have given them insecurity and tension….And here is Africa. I have given them beautiful nature. But at the same time, I have given them climatic extremes.And here is South America. I have given them lots of forests.But at the same time, I have given them lesser land so that they would have to cut off the forests… So you see fellows, everything should be in balance.”
One of the angels asked…”God, what is this extremely beautiful country here?” God said……. “Ahah…that is the crown piece of all. “INDIA”,my most precious creation. It has understanding and friendly people.Sparkling streams and serene mountains. A culture which speaks of the great tradition that they live.Technologically brilliant and with hearts of gold….. The angel was quite surprised: “But God you said everything should be in balance.” God replied — ” Yes,look at the neighbours I gave them.” 
 

Now, do you not seriously believe that,God,does have a sense of humour ? I hope you do ! Thank God !

On Anna Hazare..

On Anna Hazare..

When newspapers and TV Channels were agog about the turbulence created by this so called modern Gandhi,there were some articles which aired a different view on the subject matter.One such piece was titled : “Why waste time with Hazare?” in Financial Express of 09.04.2011. To read the article,please go to the following link:

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/why-waste-time-with-hazare/773623/0

On reading this piece,here is what I wrote in response by way of a letter to the editor on 9th April itself :

Dear Sir,

This refers to Rishi Raj’s column titled :”Why waste time with Hazare?” in FE of 09.04.2011. 

With Anna Hazare and his “Gandhian ways” filling up millions of column meters in the media and all TV channels grabbing billions of eye balls and several thousand feet rushing to Jantar Mantar, it was refreshing to read a divergent view on this matter by this author.The title it self is enough to attract attention and get huge responses from readers. 

In a way,Raj is right.Let us not remain focussed with corruption in smaller measures like getting a ration card, a driving license, an insurance claim etc,where, just by ‘systematically’ greasing the dry palms of concerned babus can get work done in a jiffy,where as straight forward and honest people stand endlessly in long queues without being sure if they will get served if they only stand and wait.(With apologies to Milton where the last line of his famous sonnet :”On his blindness” ends with this homily-They also serve who only stand and wait ! ) 

Yes,as suggested rightly by Raj,we need to take up cudgels with the authorities that be, for bigger and messier matters that can rock the presently steadily moving economy of our nation. From ” The Gods Of Smaller Things” ( again with apologies to Arundhati Roy) we need to become ‘Messiahs of Messier and Bigger Things’ like 2G Scam,Satyam Saga,CWG Scandals,CITI Bank Fraud and others like black money in Swiss Banks,ill gotten wealth of big fishes parked in tax havens abroad,etc,since as rightly concluded by Rishi,”tackling sophisticated economic corruption is also important because it threatens to derail the pace of the economic reforms and make us all look like a bunch of crony capitalists”. Jai  Ho Anna Hazare ! You have shaken up the nation with your “fast” for slow pace of acts and laws in this country ! 

J S BROCA

NEW DELHI

———————————————————————————————

I have waited till today ie 16th April ( 1 week to be exact) to see my letter published in Letters to the Editor column of FE,but so far it hasn’t seen the light of the day ! More on this subject later…Keep watching this blog and this post !!

     

Finally,my letter made it in FE of 20th April 2011.Here is the abridged version of my letter :

MY LETTER IN F.E.

Letters to the editor

The Financial Express
Posted: Wednesday, Apr 20, 2011  

Think big

Apropos of the column ‘Why waste time with Hazare?’ (FE, April 9), with Anna Hazare and his “Gandhian ways” filling up millions of column metres in the media, TV channels grabbing billions of eye balls and several thousand feet rushing to Jantar Mantar, it was refreshing to read a divergent view on this matter by Rishi Raj. The title itself is enough to attract attention. In a way, the author is right. Let us not just think about corruption in petty issues like getting a ration card, a driving licence, an insurance claim, etc, where just by “systematically” greasing the palms of concerned babus the work can be done in a jiffy. Rather let’s take up cudgels with the authorities that be, for bigger and messier matters that can rock the steadily moving economy of India.

JS Broca, New Delhi

Thus Spake Tata…

Thus Spake Tata ….

If one is to believe all newspaper reports,then as per media reports of 13th April,2011,Ratan Tata has finally confessed that he came close to marriage, four times.

Note the figure four.Not once,not twice,not thrice,but four times.Hmmm…

Was it a case of once bitten twice shy and that too four times ? I wonder….

Literally,this proverb means that someone who has been hurt or who has had something go wrong,will be far more careful the next time.

In a rare admission on his personal life, the reclusive chairman of the Tata Group,Ratan Tata—in an interview to CNN’s Talk Asia, confessed that he ‘seriously’ fell in love four times and almost came close to marriage but due to some fear he backed off. “I came seriously close to getting married four times and each time it got close to there and I guess I backed off in fear or for one reason or another,” admitted Tata.

Now that set me thinking aloud.What could be the reasons for backing out or avoiding gettig married to the wrong person ?

After ruminating for a few hours on the topic,I think I can make an attempt to list some of the probable reasons why the gentleman did not take the ultimate plunge into the sea of matrimony:

1.He was worried that he may pick the wrong person because he expects her to change after he is married.

2.He was also worried about picking the wrong person because he focussed more on chemistry than on character.

3.He was probably afraid of picking the wrong person because he as a man didn’t understand what a woman needs most.

4.He prabably feared that he might choose the wrong person because he did not share common life goals and priorities with her.

5.He was wary of choosing the wrong person because he might get intimately involved with her too quickly.

6.He was also probably worried about picking the wrong person because he did not have a deeper emotional connection with her.

7.He hesitated because of the risk of picking the wrong person and with whom he didn’t feel emotionally safe.

8.It might be possible that the other person had not put everything on the table.

9.He wanted to be sure that he was not going to use the relationship to escape from personal problems and unhappiness.

10.He was perhaps worried because of the fear that the person was already involved in a triangle.

You see,I am not a psychiatrist. However, when a man like me, has stayed married to the only girl in his life, for, well how many years now,let me count,yes 34 long years,he qualifies to put someone like Ratan Tata on the couch to analyze his state of mind.

The positive side of Ratan Tata is that,unlike like most of us, who keep moping about the spilt milk and the lost opportunities and all that,he does not have any regret on his decisions to not marry any one of them.

Great words,don’t you agree,for a change,from the usual business policies,mission statement and vision etc,from this head honcho of Tata,which is now among the world’s top 50 brands ?

Moreover, again,unlike you and me,who rarely confess our wrong doings,he has openly confessed before the cameras that, in hindsight when he now looks at the people involved,he feels it was a blessing in disguise that he stayed unmarried and away from the temptations and that it wasn’t a bad thing after all.He ultimately put a stamp of finality on the issue,by saying that he thought that it may have been more complex had the marriage taken place.Wow !

Now tell me,who all must have felt relieved with these confessional statements of his at his age now? Try to think over and I am sure you will have another angle to look into.

Before I log off,here are some of my choicest quotes on the subject :

1.”Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel.” -Leonardo Di Vinci

2.”I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her.” -Rodney Dangerfield.

3.”I’ve had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me and the second one didn’t.”- Patrick Murray

4.”In my house I’m the boss, my wife is just the decision maker.”-Woody Allen

5.”Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.”-Henry Youngman

6.”Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who’ll give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you’re in the wrong house, that’s what it means.” -George Burns.

7.”Marriage is the alliance of two people, one of whom never remembers birthdays and the other who never forgets them.”-Ogden Nash.

8.”My advice to you is get married: if you find a good wife you’ll be happy; if not, you’ll become a philosopher.” -Socrates.

9.”Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.”-Groucho Marx.

10.”Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution yet.”-Mae West.

BTW, if you have come any where closer to Ratan Tata’s matrimonial escape stories,I will be happy to have you on the couch for a chat.No fees ! Free publicity !

ARE YOU GAME ? A new season of “SACH KA SAAMNA” is about to start on a TV channel.Let me begin with you !

Keep smiling…..

 

Shoes-Nama…

Shoes-Nama…

This piece was first  posted on 20th Feb 2011 on a popular blog site named “Writespace4iw ” Now after almost 2 months,I am reproducing the same here, so that it can be read by a more wider audience.The link to the original posting is as under:

http://writespace4iw.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/ha-ha-humour-shoes-naama-by-j-s-broca/

The humble, down-to-earth shoe is again in the news these days. Again ? You ask me ! Yes, the last time it was highlighted in the media was when someone then unknown had thrown a shoe at someone well known. The date was 16.12.2008.The then most famous international scene was about a TV journalist, who had flung his size 10 shoes at George Bush. Muntadhar Al Zaidi, a broadcast journalist, working as a correspondent with Al Baghdadia TV, a Cairo based news channel, who had dared to do this defiant act, had become an international hero overnight. He had received a bravery award from a charity group and more awards had followed. A man in Saudi Arabia had then offered 10 million dollars for the shoes thrown at Bush! You Tube had been besieged with millions of hits to view that shoe hurling shot video and it had secured a place of pride in the list of top 14 videos of 2008 in those days! The only apt quote that had flashed before my eyes then, was “Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.”

Now Mayawati Memsahib is in the news these days. I am sure that you must have all seen the repeatedly telecast “breaking-news’’ TV grabs of a DSP sahib on the payroll of the UP Chief Minister, stooping down to wipe her shoes with his handkerchief ! It has been a subject matter of debate and editorials in several newspapers too. So, as is usual, yours truly also decided to take a look at the history, geography, mythology, fiction and politics of this interesting subject.

Shoes, in all shapes, sizes, varieties, seem to have been a very important part of my growing up from childhood to old-age, it appears. The Cinderella story of glass slippers uniting her with her prince charming, was heard, read and enacted on stage umpteen times during my school days. I remember having read it to my children at bed time, later in my life too. Even till this day, I love that fairy who had transformed Cinderella into a ravishing beauty and hate her stereotype of a step mother who made her slog. The story ended with “and they lived happy ever after.”

If I recall my Ramayana lessons taught by my father and grandmother, Lord Rama’s brother Bharata, had carried Rama’s wooden shoes called Padukas. (A very interesting name for a typical Indian footwear. I remember, my maternal grandfather had a pair of padukas-we called it ’khadaon’ in Punjabi. They then came with a wooden base and thick canvas uppers. They made a lovely music when he walked- thukk, thukk ! )

By the way, a little research, tells me that this Paduka is the name of India’s oldest, most quintessential footwear. It is little more than a sole with a post and knob, which is engaged between the big and second toe. It exists in a variety of forms and materials throughout India. They might be made in the shape of actual feet, or of fish, for example, and are made of wood, ivory and even silver. They are sometimes elaborately decorated. The more elaborate shoes were a part of a bride’s trousseau in the past decades. They are also be given as religious offerings or be themselves the object of veneration. Although simple wooden padukas were worn by common people, padukas of fine teak, ebony and sandalwood, inlaid with ivory or wire, were a mark of the wearer’s high status. Today paduka as footwear is generally worn by mendicants and saints of Hindu and Jain religions. Readers can correct me if I am wrong.

I understand that Paduka also means foot prints of Hindu gods such as Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, and other religious icons who are worshipped in this symbolic form in houses and also in temples built for this purpose.(Examples-Gaya temple dedicated to Vishnupada or Lord Vishnu’s feet. Buddha’s foot prints are also worshipped under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya.)

Its significance in Hindu mythology is linked to the epic Ramayana. In the Hindu epic Ramayana, King Dasratha, who had a curse on him, sent his son Rama for 14 years of exile, at the behest of his wife Kaikeyi (step mother of Rama) as she wanted her son Bharata to be crowned as the king. Rama, his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana went into a forest to spend their period of exile. However, Bharata did not want to have the kingdom. He, therefore, met Rama who was living in the forest and beseeched him to return to Ayodhya. When Rama told Bharata that he will return only after completing his fourteen years in the forest, Bharata requested for Rama’s paduka to serve as his proxy, to be crowned in Ayodhya Raj Singhasan (King’s throne) of Kosala, and to serve as an object of veneration for Rama’s followers. Bharata carried Rama’s golden sandals (padukas) with great reverence by placing them on his head as a mark of his obedience to his elder brother. Bharata ruled Kosala as Rama’s proxy in the name of “Ram’s Padukas”. Very interesting, no? Just think if that DSP would keep Maya’s sandals on a pedestal and worship them after his retirement.

Now, coming back to the “breaking news” story, touched briefly at the beginning of this piece, it so happens that, the DSP who has been now seen as a sort of a bhakta of Mayawati Behn, is named- Padam Singh. Padam -if my Hindi and my wife’s Sanskrit, are correct, means lotus. Was he by any chance trying to touch the “lotus”(?) feet of his deity Maya Memsahib ?

Different views and justifications (?) have been aired in the media. Blah ! Here, read one such report:

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati is in the eye of a storm for asking her personal security officer (PSO) to clean her sandals.The officer, Padam Singh, was caught on camera stooping to a new depth of sycophancy during Mayawati’s visit to Auraiya on Sunday. As the CM’s helicopter landed in a field in the Achhaldha area, she alighted to find her sandals covered with dust and asked the PSO to clean it. Singh, a police officer of deputy superintendent rank, a gazetted post, readily ran towards her to follow her command. He took out his white handkerchief from the left pocket of his coat, bent and started wiping the sandals. A bystander captured his action on his mobile phone camera. He may not have imagined it would blow up into such a big controversy and could even be harmful for the political health of Mayawati and her Bahujan Samaj Party ( BSP).As the footage found its way to the media, the Opposition slammed Mayawati’s ” feudal” ways. UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi even demanded the suspension of Singh, saying his behaviour was against the service rules of a police officer.” Asking someone to clean her sandals or shoes simply means insulting them. The CM thought it was below her dignity to visit the slum of Naunikpur, an Ambedkar village, with a layer of dust on her sandals. So, her officer polished it before she went there to meet the Dalit people. It is shameful and obnoxious,” Joshi said. State BJP chief S. P. Shahi said: ” Mayawati should learn to respect other human beings. But Singh’s behaviour is against the service rules. Officers are supposed to behave in a dignified manner.” The Samajwadi Party’s Shivpal Singh Yadav said: “Most of the officers who are Mayawati’s favourites clean her shoes and serve her food and water. It is no secret that they are treated like her servants whom she insults and still they lick her feet. There are senior IAS and IPS officers who act as her house sweepers. This is her way of preventing untouchability.” Singh has reportedly been part of Mayawati’s security detail for the past 15 years. He was supposed to retire in 2010, but was given a one year extension. He had also served in the security of Kanshi Ram. Sources said Singh’s act was shocking but hardly surprising since it was through such ‘ service’ that he had become a trusted lieutenant of Mayawati. S. R. Darapuri, a retired inspector general of police, said: “He is very powerful. He can easily convince the CM to transfer any IAS or IPS officer… But such acts are unbecoming of an officer and humiliating for the bureaucracy and the police in general. It shows that the officers want to stick to their posts even at the cost of their self- esteem.” The BSP tried to dismiss the controversy as a non- issue. Though Mayawati kept silent and Singh couldn’t be contacted, BSP legislator Nawab Sayed Kazim Ali came out in their defence. Ali denied the CM had asked Singh to clean her sandal, but at the same time justified his action.” It is wrong that she asked her PSO to wipe her footwear. It appears that his handkerchief fell on the ground and he is picking it up,” he said.In an apparent face- saving attempt, UP’s cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said at a press conference in the evening that Singh cleaned the CM’s sandals because of security reasons. “The officer cleaned mud from her sandals, otherwise she could have slipped. It was the need of the hour,” he said.

“Jitney moonh utni baatein “, as they say in Hindi ! Decide for yourself. I am reminded of something I read somewhere earlier on this matter. The story goes that an English aristocrat was shocked to see Abraham Lincoln polishing his shoes. “In England, no gentleman polishes his own shoes,” the aristocrat remarked. “Whose shoes does he polish then?”, the 16th President of the USA had quipped. Here in apna desh, perhaps shoes are considered as an extension of the feet. Ergo, cleaning Mayawati’s shoes could be considered equivalent to touching the Chief Minister’s feet, something which was in tune with the prevailing ethos or as per our culture! I am sure that the members of the US Secret Service are expected not to clean the shoes of American presidents but merely to stand in the line of fire! See the cultural difference? I am sure you do.

Pardon me if I am going on into a flash back or flash forward, like in the Hindi films of yesteryears. The whole thing is that ki. I am now reminded of several idioms and phrases on the subject of shoes. I feel the Maya Memsahib incident can give new twists and meanings to them. Think it over please. Sample some of them at random: 1as comfortable as an old shoe. 2. drop the other shoe. 3. fill someone’s shoes. 4. For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the man was lost. 5. have the shoe on the other foot. 6. If the shoe fits, wear it. 7. shoe is on the other foot. 8. step into someone’s shoes. 9. wouldn’t want to be in someone’s shoes.10. the boot is on the other foot.

I now draw your kind attention to some of my favourite shoe quotes. I am sure you will read new meanings into them too if you keep the Maya story in mind. OK? Here I go again:

1. I cried because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.

2. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.

3. If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes.

4. Always put yourself in others’ shoes. If you feel it hurts you, it will probably hurt the other person, too.

5. The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes.

6. Faith and Reason are the shoes on your feet. You can travel further with the two, than on one.

7. Funny that a pair of really nice shoes make us feel good in our heads – at the extreme opposite end of our bodies.

You see how Maya’s shoe episode went to my head ?

Ah, yes, I hope, like me, you do remember that raid on Jaylalitha’s house around a decade ago, where among other things,750 pairs of shoes were reportedly found. It certainly makes me wonder how many pairs does Maya have ! (She wore garlands made of crores of currency notes, once, so imagine…) Before I say good bye and rush to count the pairs of shoes my wife has (thankfully I don’t have to polish/clean them!) in her cupboard, let me add that since this forum consists mainly of ladies, I hope they would love to comment on the Shoes-naama of mine.

If they wish to throw some shoes at me, kindly note: my wife’s shoe size is : 8 ! Aim well ! Keep smiling!!

Moving with the times….

Moving with the times.

These are the days of social networking.Social sites like Facebook,Orkut etc have created historic records by connecting people across the globe.About two decades ago,the Ration Card was an official document that proved your existence.About a decade ago,Mobile Telephony revolutionised our lives.If you did not have a mobile phone,you simply did not exist.Today it has become as important as the air we breathe and the water we drink for survival.”Roti,Kapda aur Makaan”which was the early triology necessary for our basic needs has now become :”Roti,Kapda,Makaan and Connectivity “.   
Since around last two years or so various Social Networking sites have given us yet another important tool for connecting with our family,friends,colleagues and well wishers.Perhaps after China and India,the next highest population is that of Facebook. 
Today,if you don’t have a page or profile on FB,you are treated as if you are an outcaste or from some other planet of morons.These days,my day begins with FB and ends with FB.  
I was astonished to read about a person who sells chaat (a popular road side Indian snack) in a hand cart.He somehow came to know about FB and other modern tools and means of connectivity.
What better way could be there to connect with his chaat customers,he often thought.Finally,he had a brain wave.He named his hand cart as ” FACEBOOK CHAATWALA “. 
Obviously,he wanted to encash the Brand Equity of FB.Further, more, he has named his different offerings as :” ORKUT Sev-puri “, ” TWITTER Paani Poori “, ” SKYPE Bhel ” , ” BBM Tikki Chaat”, ” G-Talk Dahi Bhalla “.  
Enterprising and innovative isn’t it ? Yes the humble chaatwaala has moved with the times.
 
To view the photograph of the FACEBOOK CHAATWALLA,go to Google Images and search for :”facebook chatwala” and within 0.36 seconds or even less,you will get the images.Enlarge one image and enjoy the road show. 
I would have given you the link to one of such enlarged images to save you the bother but I discovered that the link was just too long ! It is atrouble-some task to copy and paste it.So you too try to search it using  Google Images as suggested above. 
The idea is quite mouth watering !  
Happy viewing ! Jai Ho ! FB Chaatwaaley ki !
BTW , sometimes the image may not  be  seen because of  copyright issues.