Tag Archives: India

Alarming Optimists

“The setting of the clock every night is one of the most optimistic acts possible by a person.” I don’t remember where I read this quote and when. The thought behind the quote somehow refuses to leave me and every night as I set my alarm for the next morning I smile thinking about it. Not because how I will switch off the alarm and slide into slumber again but for the fact that how granted at times we take our lives. Setting up alarm for next day when I have no surety that when I will sleep tonight I would wake up next morning but I still set up the alarm for the next morning. Leave alarms I also set up reminders for credit cards, electricity, and telephone bill payments each month.

It is amusing that I have taken the life I am living everyday for granted. Some days like today when I think about more important yet ignored things in life. I feel thankful for the life I am living, a wife who beats the crap out of loves me, parents who are there to bless & guide me, friends and family to enjoy life with them and work which pays me barely enough to show up in office on Monday to give me a sense of purpose in life. I am grateful for things I have to look forward to tomorrow morning and in the week, months and years to come.

I am glad that I need to put up an alarm early in morning when I hate to wake up, but for now I am grateful that I have to put that alarm and it does disturbs my sleep. It feels good to be an optimist, specially in the recent times where there have been a lot of negativity around. And for all those like me who are bothered by all the negative news and energy around in the news papers these days a though to ponder.

“Who is the person who should be most worried about the drastic fall in the value or Rupee against the US Dollar?

Manmohan Singh? No

P. Chidambram? No

Sonia Gandhi? No

It would be Barrack Obama as IT outsourcing to India is effin’ whole lot cheaper now. “

Why Are We Such A**holes?

I sometimes wonder that what is it about us that make us Indians a pathetic bunch of people we are. Is it in our genetics or in the method we grow up or is it a part of our culture? I know a lot of people will disagree with me but if you are going to put a nasty comment before reading the entire post then I am sure you belong right there in the title, you know between those stars and the hole.

Coming back to the point, what is it that Indians in India are stickler for not following the rules at the cost of fellow human beings, citizens, and neighbors? Think about how many times you find that you are in a queue for billing, buying a movie tickets getting in the trains and people will treat it as their right to break the queue. All the more funny is at places you will find that there will be a queue or a file of single person, after 5-10 people it will become two people queue converging to a single file and then 3 people queue and this goes on till at the end of the queue you have a large chaotic crowd.

The situation becomes all the more funny when you are on road stuck in the traffic. Imagine a two lane road, one for incoming and the other for outgoing traffic. Now some block/traffic signal/accident happens and the outgoing lane is stand still for some time. What makes us think that in such a situation the best solution is to take the incoming lane and drive on the wrong side while blocking the incoming traffic too. Why is it people driving expensive cars, speaking impeccable English, well educated and employed in honorable jobs also do that? What makes them think their time is more important than the others? The fact that they are intelligent and responsible for handling businesses of major corporations but they fail to see that their acts on the road are only going to make the situation worse.

What is it that we find an unruly child of someone else a nuisance and when our own child creates a chaos he is small, innocent and naïve to understand and correct his behavior? I was once in a meeting with the India CEO of one of the most prestigious companies globally where he mentioned an incident. In an informal discussion the senior management of the company was complaining to him about how the youngster today are not hardworking and do not put in enough efforts. There was a general perception that the entry level crowd was unruly and over smart in attitude. The CEO then asked “Do you think same way about your children who are of similar ages?” and the answer was no. We have a different yardstick to measure people working for us as compared to people who are close to us?

I wonder what is it about Indians that make us the kind of A**holes we are, when I look at the Indians travelling abroad I feel that it probably is the air, water and climate. You hardly find an Indian on the wrong side of things when they are outside India. I kind of agree with our current Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Shashi Tharoor when he says “India is not, as people keep calling it, an underdeveloped country, but rather, in the context of its history and cultural heritage, a highly developed one in an advanced state of decay.”

Ranbaxy Saga What Happens to the Indian Consumers

The newspapers these days are absolutely filled with negative, depressing followed by more negative and more depressing news. There have been scams, controversies all across India, but there has been one controversy which has been subdued in India, where the focus is currently on the IPL spot fixing, and Phaneesh Murthy controversy. The controversy which I am more worried about is the fact that Ranbaxy pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts of selling adulterated drugs that didn’t meet specifications. The US courts have fined Ranbaxy to the tune of $500 Million for duping the American consumers with the adulterated drugs.
I have always felt the healthcare business is one which runs on faith and the people in this business are no lesser than gods when it comes to patients. Imagine you are suffering from a fever, ache or any other ailment and you visit a doctor who looks at your symptoms and prescribes you some small tablets. These tablets work as magic inside your body and in a few days you find yourself cured. When a company which makes these drugs indulges in action like these you tend to question that faith. Personally speaking whenever I play squash or go for a run and there is an ache I use Volini spray which is a product of Ranbaxy and now I question if the product is authentic, does it really works on my ache or is it my body itself recovering? I don’t even know how many times doctor would have prescribed me a Ranbaxy medicine and I am not sure if it worked.
My heart goes out to people who had critical diseases, who lost out people because the medicines they trusted on were adulterated and the company sold them in the market faking specification. The fact that they were are penalized in US for the malpractices; I have my doubts if anything will happen to them in India. The people in our country who suffered by their lack of ethical practices will never get justice or even understand what has been done to them. At times when all the media is talking about other controversies I am wondering is there an enquiry happening on what Ranbaxy has been selling in India. Are there steps being taken so that until things are cleared people don’t use adulterated and drugs made not up to specifications?

It is high time government and the Indian judicial system takes up the task of delivering justice to the common man against corporate greed and unethical practices.

You can read more about the controversy and the case here.

Buying or Selling A Second Hand Car

I sold of my car recently and this was the first experience for selling a second hand car. Instead of the selling the car to one of the second hand car dealers like True Value and First Choice I wanted to sell it to an individual buyer. The advantage of selling to an individual buyer is that you get a higher price for your vehicle while the flipside is you don’t know the person, and there is a need for you to be extra cautious. This is a post which would provide to be of help to both the buyers especially on the documentation required for the transfer of the car.

The seller & buyer needs to sign the following forms for initiating the transfer of vehicle-

Form 29- Notice of Transfer of Ownership of a Motor Vehicle

Form 30-Application for Intimation and Transfer of Ownership of a Motor Vehicle

In case the vehicle is under hypothecation then you need following additional documents signed by the seller-

Form 28- Application and Grant of No Objection Certificate

No Objection Certificate- From the Bank which has hypothecated the vehicle

In addition to the above documents the following documents are required-

1- Original Registration Certificate of the Car

2- Copy of the Insurance Cover Note/Policy

3- Pollution Certificate

4- Identity proof of the seller

5- Identity proof of the buyer

6- Address proof of the buyer

In addition to the above documents it is always beneficial to get into a contractual agreement (on a stamp paper) which outlines the deal between the buyer and seller. A very important use of this document is it also ascertains the liability of any unwanted accident or incident specially if the car has not been transferred or the buyer is delaying the transferring of the car. I am attaching such an affidavit which can be used for outlining the contract on Twenty Rupees Stamp Paper which I used. You can access the document here. Like any other contractual agreement this would require two witnesses and it would be better if each buyer and seller have their own witness along with identity proof (but such a situation seldom happens). Also make sure you keep a copy on record for each of the documents above for your reference in case any unfortunate situation arises.

Happy Driving!!!

Disclaimer: This post is based on my understanding of the process and my experience on selling my car. I am not liable in case of any incorrect information above and also might not be updating the same based on changes in the RTO policy. Please visit the RTO office where your car is registered for an up to date procedure and contact lawyer for an accurate contract.

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Bloody Racists

I have a friend who is extremely insistent on the point that Indians are one of the biggest racists. I have always wondered if a word as strong as racist is appropriate. I agree we are the ones who would stereotype faster than anybody else starting from “Gora”, “Kala”, “Chinky”, “Thulla”, “Software Wala”, “Sarkari Babu”, “North Indian”, “South Indian” are some of the most common stereotypes you would find people using.
I believe the key component which makes racism a negative trait is the belief or actions that a race or a stereotype in a way is inferior to others. The negativity of the racism stems from the fact that when the person stereotyping start treating himself as superior or inferior based on the race. The places or system starts differentiating people or the laws change for the people based on the race. As far as I know this negative kind of Racism is very limited in India; though we are involved in a different kind of phenomenon called Castism which differentiates based on birth but not on race/color of skin/ ethinicity.
Coming back to the point of Indians being racist, I have my doubts that people I interact with or myself are racist, though a lot of us including me can be accused of stereotyping and grouping people based on one way or the other but then do we get prejudiced against people of different race, or we bear unnatural hatred towards them? I don’t think so. We might group people, habits, culture and refer them with our stereotype but then we do not perpetuate hatred. I believe there have been some instances that these kind of sentiments are propagated but then it is not in lines of what actual racism is. We as a group of people might be conservative on who we marry and bring in family but that is more due to the cultural differences rather than the fact that we think that some other race is inferior to us in some way.
On the contrary I feel in a country like us it is close to impossible to be racist when there is a potpourri or cultures amalgamating and coexisting with one another it is very difficult to be racist, to feel hatred and superiority against the other. So what do you feel, are we Indians as a population primarily racist as my friend believes it to be or we are a bunch of people who are a tad too quick while generalizing and stereotyping?

Zero Percentile 2.0 Missed IIT Kissed Gurgaon

Author: Neeraj Chhibba
Publisher: Rupa
Price: 140/-
Pages: 257

I had reviewed Neeraj’s first book Zero Percentile around two years back. I liked that book and thought it was a really good attempt at the story telling. When I saw his second book I knew that I had to read it and hence I got my hands on Zero Percentile 2.0 Missed IIT Kissed Gurgaon.  This is the sequel to his first book and takes off from where the first book got over. Pankaj is back from Russia and Motu, Priya, and Nitin are out of college, moving to the next phase of life.

The story is woven around entrepreneurship where all the friends come together to start a software consulting company. The story is woven across the professional conflicts and personal relationships where marriages and friendships are compromised on the altar of ambition and values. The story focuses on a multiple socially relevant issues like, ethics & values in corporate India, AIDS, treatment of special children in our society, and failing marriages due to over ambition; despite all the issues in picture the author maintains the track which is a delight for the reader.

The characterization in the book is good and since Neeraj has maintained the uniformity from the last books the characters are more realistic and create a direct connect with the reader. The pace of the story is something which works very well for the book, the continuous chain of events happening one after the other keeps the reader glued throughout the story. Corporate espionage, cyber attacks and a hostile takeover, if one likes corporate thrillers this would definitely be of interest. Compared to his earlier book this one has a lot of depth and improvisation not only in the plot but also in the method of storytelling. The skewed time frame he has used between the chapters keep the reader informed and aware despite being a bit confusing.

Though the book is an individual and there is no compulsion to read it as a sequel, but there are a few references of the story from the first book which the new readers might miss; given that the sequel is coming after two years it is a bit difficult to recollect the details.

Summary: Overall a great book set up in the emerging entrepreneurs’ corporate; a fast paced and entertaining read.

Rating:  3.5/5

Teletiquette

The cellular phone has been a part of my life since year 2003, and life with the cell phone has never been so irritating as it is now. Firstly I don’t know how and why but my cell phone number is available with everybody in the world starting from my bank to the random people calling me to sell cars, insurance, potency enhancement creams and even children. As a matter of fact I got a call from UNICEF offering me to “Buy a child scheme” where I was supposed to pay some money which would go towards a child; my telling them “No one in my family eats children” supposedly didn’t go too well with them and I haven’t heard from them since. All this when I am already registered for DND which I think in this country means “Dial & Disturb”.

So lately my share of irritation has not only been the telemarketers but also a set of people who have been testing me to my wits end; and here I categorize these tele-irritants:

1-      Lockers– Actually they are the folks who miss the “C” part of the Clock and don’t mind locking your number in their cellphone Big B style at any time of the day night. Apparently they don’t have anything significant to talk, and they might have just called to ask if you would wake up next morning.  Answer to which is ‘No’ as they would ruin your sleep, so the question of waking up is irrelevant as its answer.

2-      G-Pee-Yes-ers– These are the folks who would give you a call to find out where are you. There is no response which can satisfy their urge of tracking your location. Even if you tell them that you would reach a certain place in next fifteen minutes, they would call you back after five to ask “Till where have you reached?”

3-      Abhor-Ringers– They are the ones who do not understand the meaning when your phone goes on call waiting or is disconnected, they would keep on dialing back again and again until you reach your wits end and pick their call. Once you pick up they won’t even let you complete “I’m busy” but would say whatever they have to say like someone dumping the crap out after three weeks of constipation.

4-      Boomers– These are the ones who have their phones setup at the loudest level of ringtones to match the big boom boxes, irrespective of the fact that they are in office, meeting, hospital, or library. Also they would be the ones who would have funny, loud and irritating ringtones, so if you have a ringtone like this probably you belong to this category.

On second thoughts if you have this as your ringtone then perhaps you don’t deserve to keep a cell phone.

5-      Chew-Talkers– These are the ones who would be eating something and would suddenly have an uncontrollable urge to talk to you. They would simply call you in the middle of the meals and will talk while making chewing sounds on the phone, indifferent of how irritated you are with that sound or you can actually decipher what they are trying to say.

6-      Mid-leavers– These are the people who are having a serious discussion or a casual talk with you, and suddenly they would abscond when they get a call. Without even indicating or telling you if it would take time, or if you should wait. They leave all that on you to figure out.

So these are a few species of cell phone users which irritate me to my wits ends;  I am sure there would be some more which I might have missed. So how do people with cell phone irritate you?

Book Review: JS & The Times of My Life: A Worm's Eye View of Indian Journalism

Author: Jug Suraiya
Publisher: Tranquebar
Price: 495/-
Pages: 350

Anyone who has grown up in the 80s and 90s is not unfamiliar with the name of Jug Suraiya especially with his columns in The Times of India. His columns like Jugular Vein and Dubyaman have been a part and parcel of like of thousands of people like me who would consume and cherish his humorous writing with utmost delight. When he wrote an autobiography without a doubt it was supposed to raise a lot of curiosity. So I got my hands on the cleverly titled book “JS & The Times of My Life: A Worm’s Eye View of Indian Journalism.” Now where the title seems to be extremely heavy and serious in its tone and length the book is absolutely not. It is a delight for the minds which enjoy a light, riveting yet fun read.

The book starts with Jug as his fans call him narrating his dilemma on choosing a career after passing from the college and how life coincidentally turned him towards journalism. The book draws his times of hard work and struggle during The Junior Statesman (JS) days and how he developed as a writer, columnist. The book traverse through his personal and professional life while narrating the story of the change and evolution of Indian journalism in the backdrop. Jug Sauraiya maintains his usual brand of self deprecating humor and utilizes it fully well to take the readers to the times when the Junior Statesman was still alive; the times when The Times of India was transforming; the times when the journalism and the country itself were going through a metamorphoses. And he does it in brilliant literary style, avoiding exaggeration maintaining the matter of fact version of events but still weaving them as studded amulets in his own tale.

The best part is the narrative by Jug, which is appropriately detailed to give you the view of the Journalism world, his life at the same time brief enough to retain the interest. Over the length of the book the reader becomes a part of Jug’s life and celebrates small moments which were important and saddened by events which left him dry. The book not only brings out the humorous side of Jug Suraiya which the readers of TOI and the JS have known since ages but also the hidden story teller side of him which a lot of people including me were never aware of.

The pace of the books is pretty fast with evenly spluttered with small or large events capturing the imagination of the readers. Mentions and excerpts of his edits from the old days also help creating the nostalgic feeling of the bygone era with the book. The book might be a source of inspiration to a lot of aspiring journalists, editors and authors however it fails to highlight the details of becoming one as author maintains the Journalism happened to him by chance.

Summary: A nice autobiography quite realistic yet entertaining and funny to read. A must read for those who enjoy Jug’s columns in TOI or JS.

Rating:  4 / 5

 

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Irony in India and Some Random Thoughts

Ironies of life are funny things, I mean not funny for those who are a part of it and at the time when it is happening but generally it is funny; you got the drift right. Given the state of affairs in our country the quotient of Irony has shot up by unparalleled proportions. If we had an index which would represent the irony (even stupidity for that matter) we would have been amongst the top nations in world following Pakistan, Libya and obviously US of A.

Very frankly we cannot match up to the Ironies in US, I mean how can you ever match up to a country where they are desperately fighting to create more jobs on side while at other side the Jobs have already resigned (cheap pun, I know but I couldn’t help cracking this one 😀 ). Coming back to Sonia Gandhi’s own country, no actually that would be Italy; So coming back to Manmohan Singh’s Own Country err that would be Sonia Gandhi; So coming back to Rahul Gandhi’s own country and that would only be found on television in the silent mode; So coming back to Kapil Sibal’s own country  but then he would be from the land of non-existant $35 Laptops. And this actually went on in my head for like one hour and I couldn’t come to a conclusion. Now you know how difficult it is to write a blogpost in times like these.

I read this joke on the Laugh it Out Blog

Having already downed a few power drinks, she turns around, faces him, looks him straight in the eye and says, ” Listen here good looking, I screw anybody, anytime, anywhere, your place, my place, in the car, front door, back door, on the ground, standing up, sitting down, naked or with clothes on; it doesn’t matter to me. I just love it !”
Eyes now wide with interest, he responds, ” No kidding…………………….. I’m in Congress too. What state are you from?”
And I sadly realize that this is true for our majority party in the government which coincidentally is also called the congress.

I sincerely hope these many days of fast by Anna Hazareji for our country brings a downplay in the role of corruption and one day in my life time I would wake up in a country as envisaged by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, whose poetry I have been reading since I started my school.

WHERE the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

On a very different note I am participating in the Indiblogger, Samsung Mobiler Contest and I need your help to become an official Samsung Mobiler. If you have an indiblogger account or a blog (which is required for an Indiblogger account) please promote my post on Indivine here.

Delhi Belly & How It Got Released

I am wondering if I am not blogging enough, I know you folks would agree. But in my defense I have been terribly busy at work. However, what makes me wonder about my blogging frequency of the folks at WordPress. This blog is hosted on the WP platform and these days I get more WordPress Updates than the posts I write, so either I am writing very less, or the guys at wordpress are working their asses out. More I think of it, and I feel sorry for those guys. Imagine the project manager/product manager at wordpress would be after the life of the poor chaps writing the code upgrade, to deliver it in time for the customers to use. And here I am one of their customers who do not even write a post as frequently those folks churn out and upgrade.

So coming back to “I have been terribly busy bit”, amidst all this busyness of my business I found time to catch up with most of the movies. I am sure even you guys would agree that the recent times were like gold rush for movie fans. I mean you had movies like “X-Men, Cars 2, Transformers 3, KungFu Panda, Pirates of The Carrabian, and Harry Potter, Delhi Belly, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” and I might have forgotten mentioning few. So I have watched them all, and I must say most of them were pretty good. As a matter of fact I loved all of them except Transformers-3, which was painstakingly boorish and dumb.

But what was icing on the cake was Delhi Belly, I must say I absolutely loved the movie. I was surprised and shocked to see that movie where the abuses and F words weren’t beeped out by the censor board. I actually watched the movie twice because I just couldn’t believe that the censor board hasn’t actually beeped out the movie. The reason that this movie actually passed censor board is a very interesting story, from what I hear on my non-existent grapevine.

Place: Central Board Bored of Film Certification

Time: Fake Approval Screening of Delhi Belly

Aamir Khan (AK)- So this a movie about youth, about India, the reality of this generation.
Leela Samson (LS) – Wow.
Shubhra Gupta (SG)- What wow? Asha ji tells me he used the same line for DCH.
Arundhati Nag (AN)- These commercial actors I tell you, can’t come up with something original. They will steal stories from Hollywood, and now they have become so shameless that they remake the old Bollywood classics. Look at that Ramesh Sippy guy he made Sholay again such horribly.
Pankaj Sharma (PS) – Errr AN Ramesh Sippy was the guy who made the original Sholay. RGV was who made the remake.
AN- RGV? Who? Whatever.
Rajeev Masand (RM)- It is Packed with rude humor and made with the intention to shock. This is a filthy comic thriller which would work because it’s a smartly paced wild-ride, it doesn’t have a madly inventive story. Yet with sharp performances.
LS- RM you are not reviewing the movie, please stick to the censoring right now. Pankaj Vohra (PV) what do you think?
PV- Since this has nothing to do with Thackreys and Pawars so this is ok.
Annes Jung (AJ) – I think this might be objectionable and we need to beep the abuses. AK can you come back with a beeped version of this.
AK- Oh I already have it let me play it for you.
*plays the movie*
*Bhaag Beep Beep Beep Beep bhag beep beep Beeep*
goes on for 5 minutes.
RM- What the hell is that?
LS- After beeping this is not in English or Hindi, the movie seems to be in Morse code.
AN- Yeah but does movies in Morse Code lie in our jurisdiction.
LS- Actually no.
AK- so you mean to say that I can release this movie in MORSE CODE?
LS- Yeah, if you want you can dub it in English or Hindi. GO ahead.

and that my friends is the fake story of how Delhi Belly got approved from the censor board bored 🙂

On a more serious note, given the success of the movie, I feel our Industry is coming of age. Though I hear some petitions going against it in one of the courts in MP but I am sure the law would take its course and accept the new generation of people and the cinema.