Prats on September 15, 2014

I don’t know if anybody is still reading this blog, if you are then probably you might have noticed that I have been AWOL for quite some time. From the looks of it, I have made more comeback attempts than Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra combined. As you would have guessed that this post is akin to the Dhoom 3 with only a minor glitch, that none of the Aamir Khans of the blogging world agreed to feature in this one. The result you see, is that you will have to sit back and listen to my ‘longish’ rants.
So the fact that I have been absconding from the blogging world is in some parts due to the fact that I have been busy and occupied. The remaining parts is a different story of sorts, I believe the decline in blogging is not limited to my blog. A lot of great and regular bloggers which I used to look forward to read every day have slowly pilfered because of the other conquest of life into oblivion. Some of these blogs and the reason of decline in blogging has been very well listed by Smita, which kind of inspired me to write this post.
 photo FBLike_zpsb0bfa517.png
I believe a big reason for the bloggers to reduce is Facebook; after all it provides what our generation thrives on “Instant Gratification”. There used to be days when we used to get a nice punchy idea and we noted it down; develop an entire post around it; and then wait for the comments from the fellow bloggers and readers. Now the punchy idea is crushed into a few lines tapped on the smartphones for posting on FB and then follow the likes, “Instant Gratification”. The fact that at any point of time somebody is online in our FB friend list and people get notifications on their smartphones makes it quicker. I have been trapped in the deluge of these likes only to realize how superficial they are.
After not so deep thought and analysis in which I must state that no animals were harmed except for the brain of yours’ truly the following is a list of type of like which are commonly seen on Facebook. Feel free to add some if I have missed a few.


1- “He/she was such a loser in school/college how come he/she turned into this stud/babe” Like
2- “How does such a loser land up with a hottie like this” Like
3- “Is that a Mercedes/Audi/BMW, must have married for the money” Like
4- “I think you are hot” Like
5- “Why the F**K this loser gets to have a destination vacation and I don’t?” Like
6- “Everybody is settling abroad except me liking overseas pictures out of frustration” Like
7- “You had a baby but I don’t care but still pretend to care” Like
8- “You are in my city but I hope we don’t bump into each other” Like
9- “Have to like otherwise dad/mom/relatives/nagging friend will call and ask why I didn’t like their post” like
10- “I like everything on my wall, obsessive compulsive” Like
11- “You are my boss and I have to suck it up” like
12- “I am a stalker and will like all your pictures posted on FB ever” Like
13- “You wished me birthday on FB and I acknowledge” Like
14- “You launched a hobby/startup (which I am not interested in and hope it never sees the light of any VC funding and IPO) and forced me to like your page” Like
15- “You bought a DSLR, now have photography page” Like
16- “You posted something and I have an obligation to acknowledge” like
17- “Reassurance that I still exist” Like
18- “I don’t remember “Who the F**K are you” just pretending to know you” Like
19- “That was the easiest button to press” Like
20- “Liked by mistake, now embarrassed to Unlike it” Like

And if all these types of likes weren’t good enough, then you can always like my page on Facebook.

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Prats on July 7, 2014

I have never been good at sports, and probably my lack of ability to play them well actually drove me away from them. It was only a lot later in life some where in my late twenties I realized there is a lot more to sports than just playing them, being good at them and winning them. Since then I have consciously tried to play some sports, watch some or at least follow the news etc. There are three sports which kind of got me interested Cricket which I like to watch live or on television, Squash which I learnt to play a bit during my days at Infosys and Lawn Tennis which I have only followed but have been greatly influenced by it. So tonight when the Wimbledon final was on, I was following it. The Men’s singles match was a great one between Roger Fedrer and Novak Djokovic. It was a very tough match where it was extremely difficult to choose favorite. Finally Djokovic won the match in a very closely fought contest. Surprisingly, it was nowhere within the play that was my favorite moment of the game. It was during the victory speech by Djokovic which brought a lump in my throat. He said for Roger Fedrer “He’s a great role model and a great champion & I thank him for letting me win today.” while Fedrer was smiling at his comment no where reminiscent of the fact that they have fought every tooth and nail for the world’s most prestigious trophy in lawn tennis. You can see the entire video below.

His words again reminded me that sports are not only about winning, they are about being respectful to your opponent against whom you scored your victory. They are about being humble about your achievements. The power of hard work determination to achieve your goals. And it was not only Djokovic today who won my heart, it was also Fedrer when he claimed his runners up trophy he said “Definitely I felt the love out here again, I’ve enjoyed myself a lot. See you next year”. The man is simply an epitome of enjoying the experience of playing, enjoying the journey more than the result. The man is a promise of “I will work hard and try to win it next year” and that is what makes him such a legend. My heart has always rooted for Roger Fedrer, and it felt bad that he lost, but the attitude and humility of both the players reminded me that at the end of the day the game of tennis is a winner and the whole humanity is a winner.

A sincere thank you Djoker & Fedex for giving me a lesson in life through tennis.

 

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Prats on May 13, 2014

Author: Lipi Mehta (Editor)

Publisher: Rupa

Price: 250/-

Pages: 177

Urban Shots: Yuva, is the fifth anthology of stories in the Urban Shots series. The thing which makes this collection different is the fact that it was compiled through a pan India competition bringing out the best of the stories from the country.

Urban Shots

The collection brings to you twenty seven different tales across themes like love, lust, addiction, poor, rich, culture and many more. This collection is far more aged and subtle than it’s predecessors wandering in the realms of abstract stories. Some of the stories hit it absolutely right reaching directly in the minds of the readers, while the others stretch the fabric of abstractness too far sometimes at the cost of losing the reader. Overall the tone and tenor of the stories of this collection borders being tragic and morose sometime leaving you with overwhelmed with emotions.

Some of the stories which I really liked (In no particular Order) –

Gifts from America by Kailash Srinivasan: A brilliantly told story of the rich but stingy relatives visiting from the land of opportunities and how the relatives change seeing their stinginess.

The Travelling Autowallah by Esha Vaish: The story of the struggle and dreams of an Autowallah. One of the best told stories in the book carefully touching the topic of dreams, death and success in a matter of few pages.

The Love Note by Tnashin Garg: A tale of a married couple trying to rediscover love and togetherness after two years of the marriage amidst conflicts and troubles.

Leap of Faith by Neha Joshi: A beautiful and emotional tale of a girl learning and managing to live her life amidst tragedies and immense personal losses.

From Mother to Son by Anant Tripathi: Written beautifully in a letter style from a mother to son, trying to justify and explain her decisions in life which separated the two. A beautifully told tale bound to leave the reader in conflict while wavering both sides of the judgment.

The Book Signing by Arka Basu: A story which portrays a very simple yet powerful emotion of being faced with your friends who have become immensely successful in one way or the other. The story beautifully brings out that emotion making the reader think that about times when they felt the same.

Summary: An interesting and good collection of short stories. A very mature and slightly heavy read, recommended for the readers looking at quick read emotional tales leaving them with powerful memories of the story.

Rating: 7/10

 

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Prats on March 23, 2014

Today is the day three brave martyr’s day Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged for their participation in revolutionary activities for the Indian Freedom from the hands of British. Today is the day to be thankful and pay respects and tributes to these great martyr’s, who laid their lives to ensure our generation breathes in an era of independence. It is also our duty to protect and respect the freedom and country for which so many lives have been laid. There can be and are books written on the contribution of these brave men in the struggle of Indian independence, and I can go on and on, on this topic.

However, I leave you with a poem from one of the contemporaries of these brave revolutionaries, Ram Prasad Bismil who was not only a revolutionary freedom fighter, but also a poet of great stature. A poem which became the theme and binding thread for all revolutionaries of that time.

Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna

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Prats on March 14, 2014

I have written about the Aam Aadmi Party and my views on it here. However the journey of it’s founder and chief “Mein Aam Aadmi Hoon, Meri Koi Aukaat Nahi Hai” and “Bahut Hi Krantikari” fame Mr. Arvind Kejriwal has been very interesting. I started knowing about him from the time he became a part of Aana Hazare’s India Against Corruption Movement. So here his a graph of how my opinion of him varied through the time.

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Prats on March 14, 2014

Author: Ayush Pathak 

Publisher: Lead Start         

Price: 245/-

Pages: 389

The Temple of Avinasi: The Legend of Kalki is a book of historical fiction & fantasy woven around the mythological tale of the tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu. When I picked up the book I was a little doubtful that how another book would treat the concept of Kalki avatar especially when one has read Krishna Key, and I must say I wasn’t disappointed at all. The book weaves a nice and interesting mythological tale around the characters of Hindu Mythology. The story traces of an extraordinary child in more than ordinary circumstances rising to the occasion leading him to the path of greatness. A story of friendship, a story of sacrifice, a story of self belief this book covers it all. The author has very carefully managed to have references to the Hindu mythological characters weaving them in the book. I believe the real charm of the book lies more in the way it’s storyline has been loosely intermingled with stories of Ramayana, Lord Krishna and Devta-Assur war.

 The characterizations in the book have been decently done for the lead characters however; the side characters seem to be out of focus. Possible to keep the thrill and mystery under the wrap but a more detail on the side characters would have possibly brought more reader affinity towards the tale. The pace of book is not of the thriller that it belongs to the genre but once you cross the hundred page mark it gets you hooked on. The book slowly and steadily builds up on the reader while dimming the boundaries of belief, fiction and fantasy. The twists and turns do manage to keep you interested till the end of the book for a big climax. Over all the book kept me hooked till the end.

 Summary:  A good book in the Hindu Mythological Fictional Fantasy; a book which will wrap you in the familiarity of the known mythical beings and an unknown intriguing fantasy tale.

 Rating: 7/10

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Prats on January 26, 2014

Movies is one of the most influential art form, they have the power to mesmerize you, influence you and stay within you unlike any other art form present. There are many movies which have moved me, made me think and introspect. One of the dialogues which manages to send the shivers down my spine is one from the fight club. Sometimes Most of the times the way we conduct ourselves, I tend to feel the words of Tyler Durden are an epitome of truth.

An entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

One of the things which make me believe in these words is the current real estate market in India. Irrespective of the economic scenario, macroeconomic reality, this particular market is perennially headed north. Looks like we haven’t learnt from the lessons of 2008 in the US, and all of us are guilty of feeding to the whims of this Ponzi scheme. Imagine a piece of land or a house which is sold at Rs. X. Out of which 0.85X is financed by the banks and 0.15X is paid by the individual buying the house. Now in a matter of a year with almost no economic value add the price of the same house becomes Rs. 2X. Again the individual buying it pays 0.3X and the bank finances 1.7X of the house. This will continue till and the individuals will keep making money as long as there is somebody else to buy the house at inflated house, which is why the commonly preached parables like “Real Estate never goes down”. But in reality the chain stops when one is unable to find a buyer to buy out at a significantly higher price. When that happens you are either left with an old property & a highly leveraged mortgage/bank loan. Combine that with a difficult economic situation which hits the markets where real jobs are created and actual value add are done, you got yourself 2008 global meltdown.

The fact is government doesn’t want to create a regulator and instruments because a lot of people in the government are the creators or nodal points in this Ponzi scheme. The politicians and bureaucrats who have the information on where the next extension of the metro rail would land, where the next development & infrastructure zone will be created all start these nodes of this Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme, where a common middle income man spends his life savings, provident fund and at times hard earned money at Onsite too, ends up being the loser.

So in the end, I don’t say don’t risk yourself in this Ponzi scheme but make sure you aren’t in a situation where you actually become the last node.

 

 

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Prats on January 14, 2014

Before I write this post out, I want to clarify that I am a huge guy. When I say I mean literally huge with 6’3” in height and weight crossing over the century number. It is not that I am not aware of the ill effects of being obese, but over years I have realized one of the toughest things to be accomplished by a person is to lose weight and I have grown an immense respect for people who have managed to lose weight, something I have been trying hard since last few years.

But this post isn’t about being overweight; it is about one of the problems of having a huge body frame. The problem is buying clothes, for one the large sizes are extremely difficult to find. You go to a showroom, ask for a jeans with the waist size of 32 and there are at 50 different pieces will be floated around you to choose from. The moment you utter 40 they take 2-3 pairs and that’s all you get to choose from and the irony you would already have those pairs in your wardrobe.

If that was not all, I believe the sale season is one of the most discriminatory practices in the Indian free market. You hardly find any discounts on the clothes for extra large sized. I went to the Levi’s store which had a tempting buy two get two free sale on jeans. After half an hour long ordeal of trying through all the stock they had in stores for my size I managed to select four pairs (2 of which were almost similar to what I already had), when I went to the billing counter the sales girl tells me “Sir no discount on XXL size”.  There is nothing which infuriates you more when you have wasted your time in the claustrophobic trial room and then finally somebody tells you that you will be paying extra as compared to rest of the world.

As if all these tortures were not enough, the fashion designers the devious of the lot have been conspiring the so called “Healthy” people. Can you believe when you go and ask for a 44 size shirt and a 40 waist jeans and they show you a “Slim Fit”. In what parallel universe a guy with that kind of frame needs a slim fit? A 40 waist slim fit isn’t it an oxymoron? I sometimes wonder what these designers are thinking when they design clothes, you make a shirt of size 44 it means that the chest would be around 48-50 inches. Now by what law of probability will the waist/stomach will be 43, for god’s sake at least make clothes which probabilistically going to sell more.

I think enough of these moronic brands and their designers, it is time to find out the good old tailor who will carefully measure you and make clothes that fit all without being judgmental.

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Prats on January 4, 2014

A lot of things are happening in our country and I believe that India is going through one of the most interesting times as far as politics is concerned. Yesterday the Aam Admi Party won the vote of confidence. I think this is the first time after the JP movement a political party and an individual are receiving such wide spread political acceptance and support across India.

This is one of the best times to jump into the political arena in Indian landscape. After 10 years of corruption ridden rule filled with populist policy with disastrous economics was akin to the extreme dark ages in the Indian rule. At this point of time anybody who provides a believable story board of a corruption free and sensible economic policies will be lapped up in both arms by the frustrated, tired and naïve voter of the country. Two politicians who have managed to captivate these sentiments in the Indian public using rallies, mass media and the new found social media are Mr. Narendra Modi of BJP and Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Admi Party.

Now I do not subscribe to the views of any of the political parties but the politics being played by both Narendra Modi and Arvind Kejriwal interests me a lot. I have nothing against Arvind Kejriwal, on the contrary I really appreciate the way he has matured and arrived at the landscape of Indian polity as a matter of fact I would consider joining AAP but the skeptic in me wants to know the answer to following questions-

1-      The economics about Subsidies- With the subsidies around water and power in Delhi, what is the take on subsidies. How do they intend to finance these freebies AAP is doling out? Is this going to lead to higher direct/indirect taxation?

2-      The Take on Rural Upliftment- What is AAP’s take on the development on Rural areas and upliftment of agriculture.

3-      Take of AAP on terror and the war on terror-  With Arvind Kejriwal’s comment on the Yasin Bhatkal and Batla house issue, I find it really disturbing that AAP’s view is soft on terror. If we really look on of the most serious external threat India faces is terrorism and AAP has displayed a very antagonistic view on the war of terror.

4-      Hypocritical claims on some of the statements made- There have been some instances where they have made claims (like not accepting an official residence) and then went back and forth on it. There have been instances where they have went dilly dallied on the charges of corruption by the previous government. I feel that they should really think through before making large claims and public announcement.

5-      Black Money/Foreign Policy- While AAP has a very clear and distinctive stand on corruption, they don’t have a stand on foreign policy and if they have a plan to declare and attempt return of the black money stashed in Tax Havens.

While the above questions I feel the Aam Aadmi Party needs to answer and bring forward to people in general. While there are things which strongly makes me believe in the Aam Aadmi Party, in my heart I wish this kind of politics becomes extremely successful. These are the few things which I really appreciate with AAP-

1-      The transparency in Political Funding- The most prominent thing which Aam Aadmi Party has brought into the politics is the transparent political funding. They have time and again proved that they have been excruciatingly transparent as far as their political donations and funding are concerned. This kind of transparency is unparalleled in the Indian politics. Kudos to them for establishing the gold standard in transparency in political funding.

2-      War Against Corruption- One of the greatest thing about AAP is they don’t come with the baggage of history and since their inception their stand against corruption is exceptionally clear and transparent. With most of the political parties having history with corruption, AAP provides a utopian vision of corruption free India.

3-      The Common Man- AAP has provided a ray of hope to the middle class Indian common man, which was ignored, exploited and suppressed because he didn’t have any option. They proved that a group of people with honest intentions and very little money have a chance in the democratic system in India. The AAP has given the hope that the common man still has a chance in the Indian Democracy.

I hope AAP provides the required chaos in the Indian Democracy. I wish someday I am convinced enough to join these people and become the change I want to be for the nation.

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Prats on January 1, 2014

Wishing all the readers of Ginger & Cardamom a very happy and prosperous new year.

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014