Sunday, December 28, 2014


I have always thought about writing a blog on corruption. At least, in our country's context, for people who believe in nationalism rather than saying how and where I was born decides my association to a country is a bogus concept, just because you want to overcome your guilt of staying away, again in our country's context, I feel is the most important problem we face at the hierarchical problem tree we have. A lot of you will agree with me, but what shatters me is the hesitation of the majority to actually acknowledge it when few events occur in real life. I used have these conversations(I have stopped a lot now due to a lukewarm response and that answers my delay in writing this) with people I know and I respect, when we hear about an accident due to wrong side driving or child in bore well or bus in railway track. I used to argue this is all due to corruption and nothing else, because every other problem, say administration or mis governance or lack of facilities in my opinion will be a child of corruption in the tree I was talking about.

 Many of them acknowledge this when it comes to direct government facing services like passport, RTO, ration etc, because the cause and effect is very direct. If I say that corruption is the reason for two small daughters of a construction working staying at the parking of a newly opened huge supermarket not having basic facilities of a toilet or clothes or some toys, will you agree with me? I hope a lot them do, because I believe in it very strongly and the thought that economic disparity has increased exponentially beyond repair due to corruption alone is deeply rooted in my heart. A lot of people talk about growth and relate it to GDP, and increase in overall quality of life in humans. Our model is too top down and as we move down, we get peanuts. Though everyone is growing, the rate of growth is inversely proportional to your depth in the tree.

India is a huge country when it comes to population and classes of people(I hate to use this word, but it is important in this context). The ones we(as in my friends, social space and acquaintances) interact with, I feel, are in some sense, more of beneficiaries of corruption than detriments of it. We all hate it in the broader sense, but are happy for it to exist in pockets wherever convenient. Some elementary examples are trying to save tax, buying things without receipts, donations for kinder garden admissions, recommendation of any sort from getting a parking space to buying a land. I have seen people look at me with the stare that says "this guy is completely lost" or "is he nuts?" or "he is too idealistic". Balance is the word used by many, they say, "corruption is done by the big shots, we are just trying to balance it and save our money being wasted." There exists a no rule based convenience as a by product of corruption which the majority love and depend on, hence it is very difficult to plant this thought into their heart.

I am big fan of Indian government and they way our constitution is written. Sixty plus years down the line, and we are still very stable in governance, robust in policies. Alarmingly, we are ridiculously lacking in execution. How is that possible? As you expect, my answer is corruption. I sincerely feel that in trying to make the one nation theory of India a reality, we had to make too many compromises in every part of british India to convince every inch of the diversity that their ideology and interests will remain. And one of the compromises was to ignore the rising corruption in the system from the root of its inception because we had lot of growth potential in numbers and like I tried to elaborate, there were beneficiaries. I strongly feel, corruption has gone up after we opened up to the world in the early 90's because we had huge potential for both growth and corruption already in place and hence it was foolish to think only growth will increase and corruption won't.

There is no magic wand with anyone. With rising population and its dreams, it may sound possible to make the majority acknowledge the deepness of this problem, but almost impossible to make them understand that they too have to drastically change and it will take time to solve this problem. At grassroots, if we can try to create a system where politics is independent of administration, and even a small magnitude of corruption is socially looked down upon, and more importantly, a very responsible media, then we may be getting there. I may sound like "Anniyan Ambi", but I am glad I sound like him. We are culturally too tolerant, like the "Adjust madi" advertisement symbolises, like our women for generations due to whom alone we are the leaders today in setting an example of family bonding and values across the world, and more sadly, like the gigantic tolerance and indirect support to corruption in our everyday life. If tolerance on corruption is our weakness, then our callousness is the biggest betrayal to this country of ours. I am a programmer. Every problem I face has a solution that needs either an ideal approach or a practical approach. If I take the practical routes making compromises because it makes my life easy for that day, I fail miserably as a programmer and every programmer knows that. Doesn't it sound exactly similar when we replace problem with corruption and programmers with citizens of our country? 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why my grandfather was a great man!!!

I think frequently about my mindset relating to purchasing properties. I never wilfully wanted to or will ever want to own plots or houses when I have to shell the money to purchase them. If you are asking me, "who else will?",  I am just taking the rare possibility of acquiring a legacy out of this discussion. The fact is I own a flat right now but I would rather spend that money on a holiday, enjoy, and not regret.  I felt this behavioural aspect of me is slightly uncommon, but was stunned to hear from a very genuine source that a recent survey has proved I am part of the majority.  It was difficult to believe because most folks I meet everyday invest in properties having at least a scattered vision on its returns and strongly feel it is necessary to protect their future.

This made me analyse deeper into "why I have this mindset in the first place?". My only reasoning is family. My grandfather never owned a square foot of land. My father owns a house now, but he built it with more anxiety than happiness, which meant it was never his aspiration to build a house.  And he told me he had sleepless nights thinking about his loans and that took away some happiness he had before. Eventually, he got used to the emi's, figured out it is manageable, and got his peace of mind back. That sounds reasonable because when he applied for a bank loan he was already 47.  That thought process eventually got into my head. What astonished me even more is how my grandfather had managed to skip it.

He never owned a square foot of land in his whole life. He lived one of the most complete and happy lives, no big regrets as far as I know. He had two sons, my father being the younger one. What were his achievements in life? He brought up his two sons and knew they would coexist in harmony with him and his wife. Till he passed away, my father and him never shared salary/pension details. He and my grandmother could decide(still my grandmother can) where they wanted to stay at their will, and more importantly, could take care of themselves financially. After retirement, he took my grandmother to bank every time he went, to keep her abreast on every financial detail of them. When he passed away in 2003, my grandmother was not left to suffer alone with too many unknowns and mysteries and uncertainties. She had been well informed of all channels of his, which could make her as independent as she was when he was there. Now, was there a need for her to be independent? actually not, because she had very less or no problems or issues with her sons or daughter in laws. But, the question is, does being independent made her strong and wilful to lead the rest of the life without him, definitely YES. He lived a happy and complete life and planned things for his wife after his death so perfectly and knew his sons would take care of themselves. He never owned a square foot of land in his whole life.

Now, why did he not own any land is a different question. May be he was not financially liable to own one during his earning days, or he did not want to own one. But, for me, the reason is immaterial. We hear, see, like a lot of motivational examples around the world, get inspired by them and try to get influenced by it and motivate us towards our goal. Why do we do this? mostly, because we need them to break the barrier of mindsets our previous generations have created on us, we thrive to be more open to the idea of chasing our dreams. All that is great and positive.  But, personally for me, at least in the subject of owning properties, all I can think of is the example of how my grandfather lived his life and how that simplicity is very aptly supporting my mindset which I am very happy about.  I may change the trend, (I already slightly have by applying for a home loan at 26, but one house is nothing for this generation), by investing more in the future for obvious reasons or good influence, but I am absolutely sure I will be more anxious than happy with that decision.

Some things inside you are like that because of some solid reasons and I absolutely enjoy trying to analyse them and arrive at a self satisfying conclusion. 

Monday, March 24, 2014


I was searching for a word to describe my orientation towards God, religion, and my opinion towards the depth it has created in our grassroots, not just in India but across the world. I am usually not very convinced about the mythology, its ideals, and its projections in society. Most times, I feel I argue well with people having the opposite opinion, which makes me believe more that the direction of my thought process is right. And then somebody coined this word to me in the context of God. "Do you know who is called an 'Agnostic'?", he asked. "Someone who never says outside that God doesn't exist and he/she doesn't believe in God, but in their inside they feel it very strongly.", he said. That is when I started wondering if "Agnostic" is the right word to describe me in this context. I still am.

The word is bidirectional. I can use it conveniently on both an atheist and theist contextually. So, what do I, as a human being think about existence, God, and religion. I strongly believe the reason for our existence is either an accident or a well planned event to prove reproductive capabilities, therein proliferating the happiness of the souls who proved it. Happiness getting multiplied is a byproduct here, because if it was not, we would have had far less orphanages, reproduction enhancing drugs, and surgeries in that field. I usually try to compare religion with the Indian government post independence era.  There is no doubt in my mind(given I know the word now), that I am agnostic about existence of both. But a simple similarity between them is that all religions have sound fundamentals and the problem with them are the preachers and implementations if I can call them so, and Indian Government has impeccable fundamentals in terms of policies, but the problem is in the execution. This comparison was extremely important for me understand the effects on misuse in the case of religion because we as citizens, know and see the misuse in the case of our government.

When my daughter was 6 months old, she fell off from her bed. Her head hit the floor, she started bleeding from the nose and it was 2 AM. We rushed her to a pediatrician and he assured there was nothing to worry. We came back home at around 2:30 AM. All my opinion on these subjects went for a toss and I was praying that she should be fine. I came back to normal the next morning when she woke up and smiled at me. A day after that, I thought about the reason I prayed. It was no rocket science. Sometimes when the events around you look like they are not under your control and there is no one around to share and create the positivism around, you create something that is synonymous to God. I have underlined 'and' in my previous sentence because, if there was someone for me to talk to, I would have shown signs of positiveness. Because, everyone around me was more worried than me, I could not expect it from them. This incident made me realize why religion and God are so deeply rooted in our society and consequently, how the preachers take advantage of this emotional spread.

Most often, ideologically speaking, the conflicting point is between "I" and "WE". And these two dimensions may not have any intersection between the other dimensions of religion and no-religion. To put it simply, all religions fundamentally preach "WE", they never want you consider "I" ahead of "WE", even communism,  the sworn enemy of religion preaches that. But what is the point of propitiating God, but acting completely against his/her principle in life. And when I see so many examples in people, I bend myself more being agnostic because the world, however modern or old school it is, doesn't care a damn about ideals but likes to exploit it to become long term beneficiaries.

The purpose of life is nothing. All we should do is try to make it better for future proofs of your "reproduction capabilities" or accidents. If this thought process is clear, then there is no need for multiple mediums as it is a fact that all mediums ask you to the follow the same path during different time intervals with few intersections. I still do not know if I am agnostic or not, but I am very sure about the simple fact that if you believe is karma, no matter whom you preach or don't preach, you are doing justice and you should be proud of it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Nero's Guests

Very recently, I saw this documentary named "Nero's Guests" based on P Sainath's(Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu) journalism. I did not understand the title given my illiteracy in Roman history. Sainath himself explains what it is. Nero was a ruler of Rome from AD 54 to 68. Quoted by a great historian of that time, Tacitus, during his regime, "The Great Fire of Rome" erupted and lasted for 10 days. From history, it is not sure whether he was responsible for fire or not. But one of the worst things that happened during his rule was when Nero held the greatest party even seen in the ancient world to distract the cause of the fire accident. The emperor offered his gardens for the spectacle. Everybody who was anybody in Rome was there for this party. They had a problem, the problem of how to provide lighting to this huge garden when day light was not enough to illuminate the party. Nero had a solution. He brought prisoners to provide light for the party. They were doomed to the flames, thereby to provide the nightly illumination.

Nero was ruthless, insane and completely inhuman, but what were his guests? They were were people who knew something very bad was happening in front of them. They knew it was completely atrocious. But no one raised their arm, no one questioned such a deed. What kind of mindset you would have to drop a piece of grape in your mouth when another person is getting crucified in front of you? They just kept quiet and enjoyed the party. Sainath says,"For me the issue was never Nero. The issue was Neros' guests. Who are Nero's guests? After covering five and half years of farmer suicides, I think I have my answer. I think you have the answer, who Nero's guests were". The sheer comparison of the cruel historical event to the current reality of state of farmers in our country was so breathtakingly true that I started thinking about the mindset of Nero's guests.

But before that, let me try to put forward the facts stated by Saianth to justify the comparison. Fact 1, In India, 60% of the people are still dependent on agriculture. Fact 2, 836 million Indians live on less than INR 25 per day. Fact 3 nearly 200,000 farmers have committed suicide since 1997, driven by debt and distress. Fact 4, Yet, the mainstream media hardly reflects this reality. Sainath says, " Let me simplify. what is this agrarian crisis? Five words. The Drive Towards Corporate Farming. How is this agrarian crisis operationalized? Five words. Predatory Commercialization Of The Countryside.What does it achieve? Five words. The Biggest Displacement in Indian History".

1990's was the first time in Indian history when the rate of growth of employment in government sector went below the rate of growth of population. Millions of villagers have left their villages due to this consequence to towns in search of jobs that are not there. Thousands of families have broken up. The per capita availability of food grains actually felt to a drastic extent during the reforms years. Yet, we export food grains, when supreme court accounted six states for hunger deaths for the first time after Bengal famine in 1940's. Who consumes the food grains we export?  The cattle in Europe, when our own people are dying of hunger. Sainath quotes a noted  reformist,"If you ask a farmer in Vidarbha what would he want to become in next life, he should probably say a cattle in Europe". Thousands of farmers commit suicides because they are not able to get INR 8000 as loan with decent interest rates. But the upper middle class/rich are called up by banks for loans at 6% interest without any collateral for purchasing a Mercedes Benz. What kind of social justice is that? What has grown in the era of reforms, not the IT sector, not the markets, it is the inequality that has grown out of proportion.

The government is functioning for the corporate, subsiding everything for them. It is shame to call it a subsidy, we should call it incentive. Subsidies are for poor, not for billionaires. When BSE crashed once in the last few years, the finance minster of this country took a private jet to reach Mumbai in 2 hours to console billionaires, but it took 10 years for the Prime minister of this country to visit crisis affected agricultural villages to console farmers and their families.

I would like every one of us to watch the documentary. Whatever is mentioned above is not my opinion, though I favor every point. These are excerpts from the documentary. My question to folks who are reading this is, I know I am one of Nero's guests(a citizen) and I am dead against what Nero(government and corporate) is doing. What do I do? Do I protest? Will I protest? Will I survive if I protest? Wouldn't Nero burn me along with the prisoners if I speak against him? So then, should we replace Nero? But how to replace him when I know his replacement is no different from him. The documentary point out very frankly, who Nero's guests are. But what can Neros' guests do or should have done has to be up for discussion. All we can do is get out of Nero's party and don't be his guest. Sainath says," We can differ on how to solve this problem, we can differ on how we do the analysis of the problem but we can take one starting point by agreeing that we are not Nero's guests".
Thoughts please?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fate - As we call it

A routine set of events happening in my life have raised a lot of questions inside me and most times I myself try to give a justified answer to it. I succeed few times, but fail most of the times. You wake up every morning, drive to office and on the way in a busy signal see people asking for money. You ignore them 97 out of 100 times assuming they are not genuine, as in are victims of a trafficking mafia or the fact that they shouldn't be begging given their physique. You reach office, give you car keys to the guy who does the valet parking, which you know for sure is one of the most difficult jobs given the space and the number of cars. You see a lot other employees not treating him with the respect he deserves. You think about it for a few moments and then you are off to your workplace.

You take a tea break, and when you are having tea outside your office premises, you see a family of four with two children asking for money, or at least some food for the kids to eat. You think of helping them, but most often than not you do not help. It pricks your heart for few seconds. But then you are off with your work. If it is a lucky day, you leave office early. You reach home, sit in the balcony and have a cup of tea. You watch children in your apartment play. You see two groups of children playing. One group, belonging to the children of the flat owners and tenants and the other group, consisting of the children of the domestic helps. And when one of the latter tries to communicate with one of the former, a housewife from the second floor balcony shouts asking the former to keep away from the latter. You want to throw the tea along with the cup directly on the face of the lady who is shouting. Instead you watch, just watch like a dumb man who can not speak even if he wants to.

I can keep adding events after events happening in front of us everyday. But what is the point?
The point is, what right do I have to earn more than what my father is earning in my first job just after college? A boy born on the same date as mine but to a father who is a lorry driver would be lifting bricks in a construction site now. Money speaks more than words, I agree. But what is more important than money is the mutual respect between human beings irrespective of money. It is very easy to call the situation of the boy I mentioned above is due to fate. But is it really fate or is it known as fate but in truth is human intolerance to responding to other humans needs as they would respond to their family's needs?

Respect comes with money and if you are the money provider, you never need to respect anyone. A very simple example is how we treat our domestic helps. For a fact, we know, our day will halt if they are not IN on that day. They are so essential to us, they drive the whole day for us by completing all "maintenance and ops" allowing us to concentrate only on "development". But what is our mentality towards them? We bargain with them even for INR 50, but we would not mind paying the same amount as convenience charge for booking 3 tickets on bookmyshow. Why? Because bookmyshow is not dependent on you, but the helper is. The most important factor that we forget is INR 50 is something huge for the helper and it is not something huge for you. The downsides are of their erratic behaviour, using foul language, not doing work properly and stealing/theft etc. If we, in a so called civilized society, have no sense of mutual respect and dignity towards a fellow human being, how can we expect a poor helper to be civilized?

We read articles and watch news about atrocities in villages being committed against human kind. We feel bad about it, we crib them, we call them uncivilized. Do we think for a moment whether we are civilized? Civilization is directly proportional to the amount of respect and proudness one is able to feel and is made felt by others on whatever work someone does. If someone is collecting garbage from your house, he is helping you clean your house. He deserves respect for that, we can not treat him like garbage. Another instance that comes to my mind is when I was driving my car and there was a road crossing. I slowly stopped the vehicle. And a small girl crossed the road whose mother was on the other side and a domestic help, a small girl in her teens, was along with the young girl. There was zero chances of any accident. The domestic help saw the vehicle stop and then let the small girl cross the road. Soon after this happened, the mother slapped the domestic help in public scolding her for not taking care of the girl while she was crossing the road. I agree she is concerned, but would she slap if the girl was her husbands sister or her sister or her sisters friend? This is what I can fearlessly call modern slavery. What right does someone have to beat up a young girl in public when she should have actually made her go to school?

I frankly do not have much idea about what I am exactly trying to project and I don't have a theory and I don't think I am talking wholly about communism as communism is huge and to understand what it is you have to be well read about it. The word sends fear across the cash rich middle and rich classes and I can openly admit I too do not want to get deeper into the word as I fear I may end up hurting my close loved ones. I wanted to express what I felt very vaguely and I would not mind if this post is never read. All it will do is motivate me to be respectful with fellow human beings of this world irrespective of anything else other than the fact that they are no different from me. The current generation of people who are in mid 20's and early 30's are more inclined to this and hence the change is pretty evident.
I myself, am a selfish human being who can just write some crap and actually can not do much to influence others. I am not helpless, I am just selfish to put it plainly.
Bare minimum, if not with adults, I would dream to see a day when all children in a gated community happily play together irrespective of who their parents are.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Deiva Thirumagal Review

This is one of the best movies I have ever watched till date. I have this feeling of greatness when I walk out of a theatre from an emotional movie without shedding tears. I have cried lastly after watching Nayagan when I was 51/2 years old in DD in Pune. I have not cried after that in a theatre. I even escaped crying for 'Tare Zameen Par' as it was controllable for me. But Deiva Thirumagal was too emotional and I felt audience would not do justice if they do not shed atleast a tear drop watching this movie.

The heart of the movie is in a village called Avalanche near Ooty. Art direction and cinematography make it look like a village in Switzerland, hats off for that. And how much ever I talk about Vikram, it would not be enough. Krishna, the character played by him is so likeable that you just go nuts watching him on screen. Nila, played by Sara, is cute, beautiful and so admirable. I was thinking of Vishal bagging an award for Avan Ivan for his performance, but truly what Vikaram has done here will put a huge question mark on whether the former would be possible. Even Vishal would agree to that.

The other characters who hold the script together have been penned down so well that you don't feel irritated even with a single one of them. Anushka, Amala Paul, Bhaskar, his wife, Vikrams friends have all done an extra ordinary job. Santhanam, is his usual and fits in so well to make us laugh. The tea-coffee scene and the hotel room door knocking scene are worth mentioning. GV Parakash Kumar started to haunt me slowly and after the final court scene, moments before the father and daughter hug, a small bit of the BGM just sweeps you away. The innocence in "Kadha solla poren" song is so realistic that you never want that song to end.

Excluding the climax, the other scenes that just blew me away were the scene where Vikram and his friends buy shoes for Sara, the scene when the boy kisses Vikram after the poetry competition and the scene where Sara for the first time says Appa.

Director Vijay has given his best work till date. Adaptation from 'I am Sam' does not make me write this script off. Population of TN is around 10 crore and not everyone would love to watch 'I am Sam'. What Vijay has done is made everyone go back and call up their relatives and ask them to watch this movie. We, in the theatre gave him a standing ovation, I am sure everyone would have clapped after the movie.

Deiva Thirumagal is a feel good, emotional entertainer that would sweep you away and if you had forced someone to come with you to the theatre, I can definitely bet that someone would have thanked you for doing so.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Srihari alias "Vadai" alias "Mr Responsible Number 1" alias "One of my close friends" got engaged on 27th Feb 2011 to Janani Ramakrishnan (we will add aliases for her once we start knowing her) in Coimbatore. The couple, food, mandapam and our short stay in Coimbatore was awesome, one because obviously, there was a function and two because we got to eat in some of our favorite restaurants and thattu kadais in the city.

Congrats to the couple.