Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Basic point of the post is: life is not looking great. If ALL goes well (and God knows what all it will take), I would still at the end of it all be the Man in the Car, nothing more nothing less.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
And the private sector has to wrest the monopoly of the Government in provision of basic public services while accepting all norms of accountability that the Government operates under.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
John Stuart Mill
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Seniority within the organisation is no indication of leadership or personal qualities. One could be promoted to the very top while striving to cover one's a** all the time.
Personal commitment or volition to any task could be unheard of.
The biggest threat that can emanate from the lips of an official (at which they expect the listener to cower and run is "I can write a note on this to the department..."). Situations where this fails to frighten the listener completely flummoxes them.
At times, they fall into the habit of referring responsibility to a primordial omnipotent entity called 'Government' in case they want to absolve themselves of the issue at hand.
(E.g. 'The Government will decide upon what to do...', or 'The Government will take this up...')
Sometimes they refer to it lovingly as if it were alive.
N.B. These are the defining characteristics of organization culture. There are always exceptions.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
IIM Kozhikode is ossum. But cannot figure out what the Govt. seeks to achieve by isolating the student community from the city and society.
Trip had an unpleasant finish when I lost my wallet. Funny part in Coimbatore when sitting in a car park in a pensive mood and a palmist in sunglasses comes up and says "Palmist sir... hand reading paarkreengala ?" I replied "Nee ennanaa solrathu... enakkae theriyuthu neram seri illai.. !" ("What is there for you to say ? I know it, I am having a bad time")
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
This is a poem from an anthology(Purananooru) of 400 pieces on 'the exterior' or public life. A translation is given from here.
Every Town a Home Town
Every town our home town,
Every man a kinsman.
Good and evil do not come
Pain and relief of pain
come of themselves.
Dying is nothing new.
We do not rejoice
that life is sweet
nor in anger
call it bitter.
Our lives, however dear,
follow their own course,
in the rapids of a great river
sounding and dashing over the rocks
after a downpour
from skies slashed by lightnings-
we know this
from the vision
of men who see.
we are not amazed by the great,
and we do not scorn the little.
-- Kaniyan Punkunran"Good and evil do not come from others. Pain and relief of pain come of themselves."
-- indicates emphasis on personal choice and belief in consequences
of personal decisions. Existentialism ?
"Dying is nothing new. We do not rejoice that life is sweet nor in anger call it bitter."
-- okay..."we are not amazed by the great, and we do not scorn the little."
-- moralistic, then its not nihilism.
Enigmatic little poem.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Mr. Kasuri's statement linking the Mumbai blasts and the Kashmir dispute sounds innocuously matter-of-fact, but it is far from ingenuous; not from him and definitely not at this juncture. Removing the diplomatic niceties, in political terms, it simply says 'see, if India wants this stopped, it has to come over to the negotiating table on Kashmir'. 'This kind of incidents can make India address things India doesnt want to address' This point is painfully close to the truth, but this hint from Mr. Kasuri on how to respond to a terrorist attack is closer to thuggery than the high office he holds.
Things like these cast dark clouds on otherwise well intentioned peace talks. India would not want to seem pressurised into peace talks, which will put the other side at an advantage in negotiations. But there are enough people within the Pakistani establishment to whom valid motives can be ascribed for overthrowing peace talks.
A more significant challenge would be to stop the stupidity of right wing extremist reaction to these incidents from within India itself. I wonder if the word 'Shiv Sainiks' has been coined cleverly to derive some divine legitimacy to their actions from the public. If it is Congress-'men' and DMK-'cadres' why not Shiv Sena-'members' ? Sainik is a revered word; not to be appropriated for lending legitimacy to right wing extremist purposes.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
In India, an entrepreneur can accumulate profits out of all the above three plagues on society. In advanced free market economies, one would expect the market to manage services in all the three, right ? But interestingly the strongest voice for free market, the US, has support programs which preclude undue profiteering in all the three sectors. Are we Indians missing the essence of 'free market'?
M. S. Swaminathan wrote about India "The growing privatisation of food and water security systems is already leading to an unequal social bargain. The poor will not be able to withstand the tragedy of distress sales and inundation by low-cost foods and fruits from rich countries whose agriculture is driven by heavy inputs of subsidy, capital, and technology." Ever wondered why US farmers dont commit suicides like these Indian farmers in AP and Vidharba. The Bengal famine of 1942 happened not due to grain shortage but because grains were locked up in private trader's godowns.
In healthcare in India, most medical supplies and equipments (even glucose drips) fetch margins of around 300% to the manufacturer. Why has the invisible hand failed to bring efficiencies ? seriously, I dont know.
Excellent public school systems are run by the government in fully capitalist economies to ensure basic education. All medical facilities are government funded by countries like US and Canada. One can walk out of hospitals after treatment without any other thought other than convalescence.
Let us not get this wrong. Excellent private run institutions exist in all three sectors in western countries. I wouldn't be surprised if the best facilities in these three sectors are privately run. But the government has ensured access to food security, healthcare and elementary education first.
Don't stupid, unemployable rural people get ill and feel hungry? Or are they stupid and unemployable because they fall ill and go hungry too often and are unable to improve their lot?
Saturday, June 03, 2006
"It was a wonderfully fine thing to have that lofty castle to myself, and to feel, when I shut my outer door, like Robinson Crusoe, when he had got into his fortification, and pulled his ladder up after him. It was a wonderfully fine thing to walk about town with the key of my house in my pocket, and to know that I could ask any fellow to come home, and make quite sure of its being inconvenient to nobody, if it were not so to me. "
- Charles Dickens
Not having an address is a weird problem. Staying in company guesthouses here and there is convenient: homely food, laundry, A/c and all that but one is nevertheless bugged by that fact... All billings are to be done to my official address, cell cos have taken me off their network since I cant give them a verifiable address and one never knows where one's next base is going to be.
Despite all problems which are attendant on running an own establishment and even though I may not be using that place to a large extent, I prefer to have a homebase where all the bills come and where friends can be welcomed at ease.
N.B. homebase is not a word yet... but its nice.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Monday, May 22, 2006
The song I was listening to was from the Tamil movie Nanda and starts off 'Kalliyadi kalli...'
A rough translation of a section of it is as follows:
"Consider that there is no sea in between us....
the nations are the same...
Tamils are Tamils everywhere..."
Was kind of surprised that such a bold avowal was let off easily by the authorities though it was a movie on Sri Lankan refugees. It sounded like a cheap shot using identity politics rather than a mature artistic approach to the issue. Also, it is one of the modern day ambiguities in geopolitics but its strangely disturbing when popular art pushes such issues into public conscience. Have got used to issues like these handled by sensational newspapers and relegated to Page 5 International sections rather than listening to it as music.
Came across this word while going through some websites on Bahrain...
Irredentism : an international relations term that involves advocating annexation of territories administered by another state on the grounds of common ethnicity and/or prior historical possession, actual or alleged. It is a feature of identity politics and cultural and political geography.
... and that completed my circle of vapid thoughts.
Are people customers in a governmental setup ?
I instinctively say no to both the questions. Though student unions and e-government supporters can mention the word 'customer' in every sentence, my whole being revolts at that notion. What a horribly narrow minded view should one have to describe the relationship between a student and a teacher with a term which primarily means a person involved in a monetary exchange for goods/services offered. Similarly, can anyone buy good governance or the acumen of statesmen for the price paid as taxes? Amidst all the crap that is flying around since the current medico's strike, there was a surprisingly mature statement from the Arjun Singh when he said "we are concerned as the agitating students are our children too.." The veracity and intent can be questioned but that is not the point. That is the feeling of overarching responsibility and bonding that a Government should have with its people and that feeling towards the Government surpasses all monetary measures...
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Does the transience of all identities indicate that the Goal should be the transcend all identities?
N.B. abstained from examples in this case since examples seem restrictive rather than explanatory.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Friday, February 03, 2006
(this after meeting seniors who come down here for PPTs and Chaos)
2) Thinking about
(a) companies to pick and why?
(b) companies not to pick and why ?
(c) running away from certain companies
(d) companies that will do (c) to me
(e) My own Company Inc.
3) Rang De Basanti
4) Mahabharata, Idealism vs. Reality
5) < Censored for explicit material >
6) Work for impending project deadlines
Thursday, January 19, 2006
melody: specifically, the topmost line or voice
soundscape: an acoustic environment or an environment created by sound
Came across this interesting word called soundscape when reading a review of AR Rehman; the article said his music is influenced by that of Ennio Morricone (of The Good The Bad and The Ugly fame). This single word conveyed how the music of one relates to the other. One of those exquisite occasions when the medium transcends the message.
Listening to the two greats of Tamil music, Ilaiyaraja and ARR, one can immediately sense two different approaches to creating music. For me, Ilaiyaraja is the melody maker and Rehman, the soundscapist.
Both are just segments of a fulfulling musical piece... lyrics and vocalists being other important ones. But seems like the areas of specialisation of both musicians are different. With singers like SPB, Ilaiyaraja revelled in creating soulful tunes and melodies. ARR's focus is on creating a soundscape: choosing the base sounds for the song carefully. Running the risk of sampling bias, here are a few songs:
1) church bells tolling in 'Mukkaala, Mukkabula' - Kathalan
2) the barren effect and sounds in the song describing famine in 'Maari mazhai peyyatho' - Uzahavan.
3) more prominently, the rail tracks in 'Chaiyya chaiyya' - Dil Se
ARR uses brief vocal pieces for opening a song ('Chikku bukku', 'Maargazhi thingal', 'Mettupodu' etc) during which (and for a while after) he does the soundscape before launching into the main vocals.
'Sundari kannal oru' - Thalapathi
'Muthalvanae' - Muthalvan
Both are similarly situated songs of Ilaiyaraja and ARR respectively. Probably it's a misplaced comparison, but the difference between the two is too strong. The first one uses tunes and vocal improvisation of SPB to communicate the full pathos of personal life. In the second, ARR takes it upon himself to build the thick base of sounds to indicate conflict with personal life and leaves the rest of the job to Vairamuthu.
Imagine an artist labouring on a lake, a few trees, shrubs and a distant bird before painting the girl with a pitcher. Thats what ARR does to set the soundscape for a song. But with Ilaiyaraja, the image of the girl with the pitcher is so expressive that you don't have to be told where she stands.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
1) Kannodu kanbethellam - Jeans
2) Soukiyamaa - Sangamam
3) Mettupodu Mettupodu - Duet
4) Maargazhi thingal - Sangamam
5) Ithuthaan Kathal - Puthiya Mugam
Warning: Overdose is injurious to your sense of reality
Uttarayan and Lohri as Pongal and Bhogi are called here respectively are on. Today went to Core House to meet Handaji and see the kite flying which is traditional here. From the terrace of the seven floor building I could see a million kites in the sky. Good sun, kite flying lessons, nice jalebis.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Don Quixote is this stupid, well meaning, idealistic old gentleman who is drunk with visions of a chivalrous and honor-based society and sets out to be a knight-errant. Was it madness ? or was it another form of wisdom that declares war in defence of one's ideals ?
He fails miserably though and ends up in his deathbed as a chastened person. Even his squire Sancho is not a convert to his idealism. After becoming a reasonable man, he loses all his reasons to live. A critic refers to this as the world's betrayal of an idealist for the sake of materialism. No wonder, when the Cuban revolution ended, the first book printed and distributed by the Government was Don Quixote. They read a communist message in this book !
The question is: Why did Don Quixote end in a tragic failure ? will Quixotic fervor help in solving any problem facing society? Cervantes' greatness as an author lies in the fact that Don Quixote endears himself to the reader without once having to explain his ideals and despite all his foolish antics. This book reads like an appeal to that little bit of idealist in everyone to be Quixotic once a while.