Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dear Mr. Prime Minister…

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I was a big proponent of talks till the terror attacks intensified. I am not talking about just Mumbai here. Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai train blasts – all have hit the psyche of normal Indians who suddenly feared that going out for a stroll might mean death. Fortunately, I have not lost any dear ones in these attacks. But, I still cannot forget how I felt the day after the blasts in Hyderabad – an uneasy calm, and a disturbed mind torn between sympathizing for those who died and anger at those who were responsible.

All along, we have known that elements in our neighbourhood were directly assisting these activities. And when 26/11 happened, that was the last nail in the coffin, and rightly so (and like we have done multiple times before) we decided not to talk to Pakistan until "action" was taken on terror. The whole country was in grief and majority of us forgot to ask then, what exactly does "action" mean? And in the busy times you have had since then, I am sure even you must not have thought about actually defining what "action" you were expecting from Pakistan.

The joint statement released in Egypt has been discussed before on many forums, and many questions were asked right from drafting to issues included. And while you rose to answer all your critics, I waited in anticipation to see if you would answer these following questions:

  1. The Foreign Secretary, S.S.Menon said this was a case of bad drafting. Do you agree?
  2. Minister of State, Shashi Tharoor said this was a not a legal document, so why worry? Do you agree?
  3. If Baluchistan was included because the Pak PM raised the issue with you, why was your reply to Pak PM's claim not included in the statement?
  4. Leave alone what changed in the two months between meeting Zardari and Gilani, what changed between four days of your External Affairs Minister telling Parliament that enough has not been done, and the joint statement?
  5. What exactly are you expecting Pakistan to do? And if you are not happy with what has been done, why is there a sense of urgency to talk to them?
  6. If India and Pakistan are interpreting the "delinking" clause according to each one's conveinience, what is the point in having that clause in the first place? Who was it intended to satisfy?

Sadly sir, I got the answer to only question number 4. You have mentioned in your reply that just two days before the summit, you received a 34-page dossier from Pakistan in which Pakistan accepted that the LeT was chiefly responsible for the attacks in Mumbai. Very well, sir. So, it took just two days for you and the entire foreign ministry and home ministry to read, analyse and arrive at the conclusion that this dossier is a good step forward, so let's drastically alter our approach too! Just 2 days, not even two months!

While you gloat over your contention that "The reality is that this is far more than the NDA government was ever able to extract from Pakistan during its entire tenure despite all their tall talk.", I would have given you full marks to that statement had you achieved this same result in the exact same circumstances that NDA government functioned under. Had you been able to extract this confession without so many terror attacks, you (and we too) have every reason to be proud about the "achievement".

I do not doubt your intention to bring in peace, but what severly bothers me is your sense of urgency to engage in dialogue with Pakistan while the wounds of the terror attacks have still not healed. In your hurry to outpace every other Prime Minister and propogate to the world that we are willing to adjust to changing scenarios more quickly than one would expect, you seem to be drifting away from the track laid by none other than you yourself! You are not happy with what has been done so far, your Home Minister is not happy, your External Affairs Minister is not happy, most of the people in the country are not happy, and yet we are witness to this spectacle of you walking more than halfway, in an attempt to appease the international community, because "this is much more than what has been done before". Where exactly are we drawing a line as to when to talk and when not to, sir?

From your statement yesterday (forgive me sir if I sound like the "opposition" you don't want to listen to), all that my small mind could sense was that our approach which was clear till a fortnight ago, took an unwarranted and unnecessary detour. We owe it to those who died and to those who mourn that we could have atleast waited till some substantial arrests were made, not when Hafeez Saeed was released because the case mounted by Pakistan was weak. We owe it to those died and to those who mourn that, in international fora, we sound stern and not appeasing. We owe it to them that they feel justice is being served, slowly but surely. Everything else can wait.

I believe the majority of people in the country agree with you that "dialogue is the only option, since war is ruled out." I belong to that majority, but the timing is just so ill-timed. Surely, it is not too much to ask to wait for a little longer, to verify and trust and not vice versa.

Yours sincerely,


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The other side of the argument..

We've been hearing a lot about the fiasco in Egypt by the Indian delegation. If you are interested in listening to the other side of the argument (nope, it is not from the government!), today's article in The Hindu by Siddarth Varadarajan gives it. Click here to read the article.
I just thought we should also listen to the other side to get a complete picture, and I still stick to the fact this whole bungling could have been avoided. I will write more about this topic tomorrow, since the PM is scheduled to make a statement today in Parliament.
The Foreign Secretary said this was a case of bad drafting. The Minister of State for External Affairs said that this is not a legal document, so why the ruckus about it? The Minister for External Affairs said...well, nothing! Let's see what the PM has to say and then continue the debate ...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sagarika Ghose never ceases to surprise!

I wanted to be part of this chat to ask some uncomfortable questions to Sagarika Ghose, but I could not attend this chat. I come back to see the transcript and my feelings kept changing from awe to ridicule.

Just for information, Sagarika Ghose is a journalist and a TV news anchor on CNN-IBN ( partly owned by her too ).

If you look at the transcript
here, it is very clear that Sagarika is taking the whole thing to heart. Why? Well, that's the million dollar question my friend!

One poor gentleman asked her, "... but don't you think some national figure should be spared from frisking". Madame Sagarika goes bonkers here, and shrieks at the top of her voice "There IS NOTHING WRONG OR HUMULIATING about frisking. NOTHING. ZERO. NO.NOTHING. "

Fine. So I have this question for you Sagarika. Who made this an issue? Who ran headlines saying, "Kalam Frisked", " Kalam Humiliated" ? Who ran this whole news for two full days as if this is a national security concern? The media right? CNN-IBN also right? Why did you hype it up to this extent, and then ask why we are taking this so seriously?!

Ohh, by the way, Sagarika, Heads of State do not ride bikes, for obvious security reasons, so there is no need to worry if they are going to break that rule. Maybe you should get your comparisons right. They are either simply naive or plain stupid. What was going through your mind when you said this - "If all former heads of state were exempt can you imagine what would happen if a tin pot head of state from say, Somalia, boarded a aircraft and proceeded to hijack a plane--hypothetically speaking." A tin pot head?! I am more curious to know what was going on in your head at the time of saying this?!

I also see that you have a penchant liking to make comparisons with leaders of other countries, saying we need to learn from them on how to stand in queues. I liked your line of thinking in this matter, and so am taking the liberty of comparing your journalistic style with some greats that I have seen right here in our country and also take the freedom to suggest that you might want to learn a thing or two from them. Remember one gentleman called L.V.Ramana who used to read Hindi news on Doordarshan. Calm and composed? No dramatics? Or even the English news readers at that time. Ok, let's come to contemporary journalists because times have changed. They are no legends, but if you see a Rajdeep or a Barkha interviewing, they will let the other person talk a bit. I am from Hyderabad and watch this show at 7:30 on a local show on TV5. The anchor talks so little and allows the panelists to talk for about 20-25 minutes in a 30 minute show!
The trademark of your show is that you are the person that talks the most! And almost all the news anchors in this country will not make mistakes like "...those players who hit all those boundaries and fours", "Arjun Singh's time was all about quotaaaas, and..OBC quotaas". Which journalists asks, "Ok, so why don't we talk to ISI?" I am sure I would have picked more, had I not stopped watching your show!

And I am amazed at your knowledge of the world when I read this line. "(The US Senate is arguably the most privileged club of 100 people in the world.)" Really Sagarika? Maybe the senators will all be pleased to know that someone thinks of them in this manner, and that too while discussing about frisking of VIP's in India. What amazes me more is that line appears in an answer to this question - "what are the rules for former heads of state in other countries?" I still wonder what connection the answer and the question have.

If you knew Mulayam's security was increased because of his support to UPA last year, why did you not make a big issue of it then? Did it not matter to you that totally unethical means were followed to win the trust vote? Why did you let that news cycle die down so quickly? If you feel "incredibly embarrased" when you see Robert Vadra's name, why don't you do something about it Sagarika?

The whole chat bothered me so much because you seem very desperate to take the moral high ground on an issue that deserves no more than a passing mention. You got the choice of the topic wrong, your comparisons wrong, and more importantly you priorities wrong!

PS: Answer to me this - How can you guarantee that the employee who frisked Dr. Kalam is not a security threat to him? As much as Dr. Kalam is a threat to the airline, an outsider bodily touching the former head of the world's largest democracy is also a serious security breach, so what about that then?!

Friday, July 24, 2009

So many points, so litte time!

  • LOL!! Seriously, you will also laugh out loud after knowing this! Pakistan's Intelligence agency, the ISI, wants us to talk to them directly!! LOL! "…Lt. Gen. Pasha came clean in stating that the ISI and the Pakistan Army were involved in framing Pakistan's India policy, along with the Foreign Office. He made the oblique suggestion that India deal directly with these three institutions if it had a similar three-way mechanism." Again, LOL! Someone should tell this Pasha dude that it is precisely because we don't have such a "similar three way mechanism" that our country is much more stable that he can ever imagine his to be! No wonder that country is in chaos, eternally. Well, with three power centres (reports are also suggesting that there is a rift between Gilani and Zardari. If true that makes it four power centres!) operating parallelly, what else can you expect but chaos?! You can read the full report here.
  • Dr. Kalam was frisked and this incident came into light nearly two months after it happened. And then our frenzy media went into a tizzy, and then had debates whether our VIP's are overly pampered! For starters, the protocol only restricts 18 kind of VIP's, with former Presidents also being in the list. Secondly, it is also a major security breach that a person was bodily allowed to touch a former President. As much as the US airline is worried that a former President of the world's largest democracy is a security threat, our security agencies also have to be worried that the same employee can also be a potential threat to our former President. Thirdly, Dr. Kalam did not make this an issue, but we are and I think this time we are doing it rightly so. Sagarika Ghose of the CNN-IBN, eulogises in her blog how Tony Blair stood in the line and how she was impressed with it. Well, Sagarika, I wonder when you will write a blog about the simplicity of Dr. Kalam in many more matters than praising a former Prime Minister who was as responsible as George Bush for the killings in Iraq. I guess that's pardonable, for he stood in the queue at an airport! My point is this - these VIP's represent the state/country for a long time, both internally and externally. These VIP's ensure that the country moves forward ( at what pace is a different debate, but they do it right?). So extending them these small courtesy's in no way jeopardizes the "security threat" of an airline. Continental is guilty, period.
  • She came, she saw, and she went. I think this is how we can summarize Hillary Clinton's visit to India! Her visit was so "hectic" that she could get to meet our External Affairs Minister (who is also officially her host) for just one hour in her 5 day trip. And just in case you are wondering what the result of that one hour meeting is, read the next point! Before that, I wanted to make one more point. She apparently visited the Taj hotel in Mumbai, and paid tribute in the book there. I think we need to stop this over-hyped obsession with Taj whilst equal or more number of people died at other location during those deadly attacks. This is just plain insulting to the memories of those who died. Maybe, the government should construct a memorial for all those killed in multiple attacks on Mumbai over the years, and that's where people should go to pay homage. Not just the Taj.
  • After the 1 hour meeting between Hillary Clinton and S.M. Krishna, here's what happened. We will buy military equipment from the US, and then US has the right to inspect all our facilities that use this equipment! In layman terms, the US wants to make sure we don't mis-use these weapons (attack a country that they like), and therefore get the right to inspect our facilities. Please note, they get to inspect our facilities. As if this capitulation was not enough, here's more. The US will choose 2 sites where we can install nuclear plants with the technology they give. Yes, you read it right, US will choose the location for establishing 2 facilities. Read here, if you want to know more details.
  • And finally, the Foreign Secretary has admitted that the Joint Statement was a case of bad drafting. Excellent, for he agreed to what most people in the country have been shouting from the roof top! Full marks for stating the obvious. I wonder what the government's reaction will now be? Ohh wait, I know what it will be – all of us "read his statement out of context". Here's what Menon said – "One can argue how good or bad the drafting can say it is bad drafting, but the meaning is clear. These things happen, what can we do?"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The clouds have eclipsed the solar eclipse!

For about two months, I have been hoping that one fine morning when I get up and go into the balcony, it will be raining, for that sight is something I love! And guess when that prayer was answered? On a day, that will not reoccur till 2132 again! (maybe, I should now start praying for a really loooonnggg life :D). Today was supposed to be the longest solar eclipse in this century, and Hyderabad was supposed to be in the zone where the eclipse will be at 80%.

The eclipse was supposed to start at 5:52am. I woke up at 4:30am, and was at Necklace road by 5:30am! Not a soul to be seen around! Well, given the fact that it was drizzling outside, I expected fewer people, but no one?! Till about 6:00am, the only company I had was pigeons flying and buffaloes grazing! Speaking of pigeons, I try to get a little closer to get a better shot and they fly! I mean, couldn't they have been a little more patient?! Couldn't they see that I was already having a bad day?! In contrast, the buffaloes were more co-operative: P

A couple came at around 6:05, hoping (against hope, just like me) to capture any pictures, and they ended up taking pictures of pigeons around, again just like me!

It was dark at 5:30, but was bright enough at 6:00 (just like any other cloudy day has been), and it just stayed like that till about 6:30!! The 80% eclipse was supposed to have occured at 6:21am. I thought that atleast the brightness would change, so we could end up atleast experiencing the eclipse, if not watching it! But nothing changed. The birds' behaviour didn't change, the brightness didn't change, the drizzle didn't stop, and the number of people at that place remained 3! The only thing that changed was my mood; from frustration to.... well, more frustration!

I was particularly excited because the view of the rising sun from Necklace road is nice (round, and bright red; if you travelled on Necklace road at ~6, you will know what I am talking about :D). And my imagination was that we will get to see the moon eclipsing a rising sun, and it would have been a sight to behold! I had some more ideas about when to take pictures … you know, I had everything planned out! And nothing worked!

The dark clouds played real spoilsport, of all days, today. They simply eclipsed the eclipse :(

PS: Since I have anyway taken some pictures, presenting some of them here!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bad monsoon so far...

This picture was published in a telugu newspaper "eenadu". It gives a complete picture on how the monsoon has fared so far in India. To make things easier for non telugu speaking people, I am giving the colour code here:

Blue—Excess rainfall (+20% or more)
Green—Normal rainfall ( +19% to –19%)
Brown—Less than normal rainfall(-20% to –59%)
Yellow—-60% to –99%

The numbers in the states give the exact picture. Also, this data is based on rainfall from June 1 to July 15

Friday, July 17, 2009

No “forward movement” this…

Statement 1:
Excerpt from the Joint Statement issued by India and Pakistan in Egypt: "Action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue process and these [sic] should not be bracketed."

Statement 2:
Excerpt from the Prime Minister's answer to a query later in the day: "..dialogue cannot begin unless and until the terrorist acts of Mumbai are fully accounted for and the perpetrators are brought to book"

So, now, can someone tell me how both these statements are the same?! Which statement should we give credence to? The first one issued by the two governments, or the second one by our Prime Minister? Or is there going to be a third statement in Parliament after he returns?

According to The Hindu report, Indian side interprets the first statement like this: "Pakistan should not wait for the resumption of the composite dialogue to take action against terrorism" And the Pakistani side interprets like this: "..this meant the future of the dialogue process should not be held hostage to the perception in New Delhi that Pakistan had not done enough to stop the activities of terrorists operating from its territory". And therefore both sides see this statement as a breakthrough!! Wow, diplomacy and interpretation just took a new turn towards naiviety.

There is a third way to interpret this. With statement 1, we have tried to please the International audience. With statement 2, we have tried to please the National audience. My question is – why should we please the international audience?! How can we even agree not to link the action on terrror to talking to Pakistan on "outstanding" issues? Why are we sounding even more eager than Pakistan to talk? Our point till today, was very clear – we will not talk till something is done. And we are talking to them when nothing was done (oops sorry, something was done – Hafeez Saeed was let off!).

The Pakistani side sees this as a victory to its diplomacy. The head of GEO Television in Pakistan has this to say on rediff: ""It was a great victory for Pakistan but not a defeat for India. Surely, India gave concessions to Pakistan keeping in mind a long term goal. I think Dr Singh has made a sacrifice to gain bigger things in future. We understand he has taken a risk by going against public opinion in India. Dr Singh has shown some flexibility.""

I would suggest you to read the full article here , but here's another excerpt from there "When asked why and how the Indian stand changed dramatically in Egypt when compared with its stand during talks between Singh and President Asif Ali Zardari in Yekaterinburg, Russia on June 16, Mir responded, "According to our information the meeting of India and Pakistan foreign secretaries in the last 48 hours in Egypt has been crucial. Pakistan's Bashir took a tough stand against Menon. Bashir told Menon if you bracket the Mumbai attack with the comprehensive talks between the two countries then there is no possibility of a joint statement.""

Pakistan took a strong stand against us?!?! Seriously?! If true, I don't even know how to react! And if false, isn't our climbdown on the "delinking" giving them enough leeway to make these statements? Why is it us, who always end up making compromises. What are we losing if there is no joint statement?! What are we losing if we don't to talk to a country that has least respect to our concerns? Some of the media still sounded optimistic ( The Hindu, CNN-IBN, NDTV ), and some gave the true picture ( Times of India, Indian Express ). Whatever the coverage is, the fact that the Indian side wants to generate a "feel good" factor is what disturbs us.

Optimism is good. I am not denying that. Till recently, even I was a big supporter of the dialogue process. Peace is what brings ever lasting prosperity, and therefore I sincerely believed the talks will lead to such peace. And each time, that peace was broken, we have returned to the table after a while. I thought this time would be different, but it did not turn out to be.

Ohh, and here's something I found hilarious. Apparently, the two countries have agreed to share intelligence regarding terror! Yeah right, ISI and RAW will work together!! You know what actually; the day ISI genuinely co-operates with RAW is when there will be forward movement. This summit in Egypt is no forward movement.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lessons learnt from Chattisgarh tragedy..

Praveen Swami from The Hindu, wrote this article today on how unprepared the police forces are, in Naxal affected areas. It gives a lot of information, and also exposes the sad state of preparedeness in some states.
You know, I feel very sad that we lose precious lives because we didn't invest well into machinery and training for police. They lose their lives for no fault of theirs, and we very quickly forget their sacrifice. We never want to learn from just one tragedy, we need multiple tragedies to learn. After hundreds of lives lost, and scores of incidents, we are then told - ohh yeah, we didn't have enough equipment to deal with them!!
And see what the reverred former Home Minister, Mr. Shivraj Patil had to say when he was at the helm - "“Force alone cannot be a solution,” the former Union Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, said in the wake of the killing of 24 police personnel in the Elampatti-Regadgatta forests of Dantewada district of Bastar division in Chhattisgarh on July 9, 2007."
Neither did he find a solution, nor did he go along with equipping the forces better. This man was a disaster. A disaster that should not have been allowed to happen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My experiments with Photography – Part2

Here is part 2 of the experiements! All the pictures are an experiment of how best we can capture clouds:D ! Click on the picture for a nicer view. Part 1 of this experiment is here.

My experiments with Photography – Part1

Very recently, we went to Hubli to attend the engagement of Sripad bhai! The surprise package of this one day tour was the brilliant weather in Hubli, especially if you are going away from the hot, sultry weather of Hyderabad! And added to this was the fact that Sandeep bhai bought his new camera with him… I keep forgetting what the make is :D. So, after the ceremony was over, I tried my hand at some photography and here are the results! Click on the picture for a nicer view. Part 2 of these experiments are here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Party greater than people?!

Kerala Chief Minister has been removed from the CPM Polit Bureau for "violating the organisational principles and discipline." However, he can still remain the CM. This beats me totally! How can someone who is charged for violation of principles and discipline be allowed to continue as the Chief Minister of a state? Is the party more important to the CPM than the people? Does the post mean nothing to the party, that supposedly prides itself in morality?!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Disinvestment; and number crunching on budget

There were two very excellent articles in The Hindu today.

The first one (click here) is related to the disinvestment policy that the UPA government is proposing to follow. Siddarth Varadarajan begins with why some of the decisions of the NDA government failed and then continues to suggest how to get back to the basic principles. I felt this article is a very good one to gather a nice understanding of the process.

A brief excerpt:

"Before going down this route, however, it is essential that the case for privatisation be discussed anew from first principles. And that this discussion be conducted rationally, without the free market dogma and leftist sentimentality that has tended to cloud the real picture. Broadly speaking, one needs to ask four questions. First, is public ownership of industry inherently inferior to private? Second, is private ownership the only way to deal with managerial inefficiency? Third, is there a difference in the positive and negative outcomes produced by privatisation through the strategic sale route and through the sale of shares to the public? Fourth, is plugging the fiscal deficit a sound rationale for disinvestment?"

The second one (click here) is related to the number crunching from the Budget 2009. S. Gurumurthy exposes some of the claims made by the FM in his speech, and provides us with concrete numbers to prove why the increase in deficit has less to do with "fiscal stimulus" and more to do with subsidies etc. He ends the article on a very interesting note - "But that calls for a different leadership which no party in the country seems to possess."

Adios Mangoes!

You know, these are testing times! I don't know whether to feel happy about the advent of the belated monsoon, or feel sad that the Mango season has come to an end! Mangoes made this summer yummier, and their taste just countered the disgusting feeling because of the excessive heat this year. Last year, I didn't have as many, but this year, I used to eat an average of 3 Mangoes per day! Infact, you know what - Mango is to the fruits, just like the lion is to the jungles!

But like they say, all good things have to come to an end. So for this year, it's adios to mangoes! The wait is on for the next year!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Prayers Answered!! :) :) :)

Finally, our prayers have been answered! :)
It is pouring in Hyderabad now… and the picture says it all !!
Special thanks to Shamly, for his cell phone is the source of the picture!

The Good, Bad, Ugly of Budget 2009!

The Good:

  • Spending to be increased on the social sector.
  • Instead of just announcing sops to the agricultural sector, the FM announced some practical measures to help farmers. The increase in the farm credit target is a good step. Also, the FM proposed to reduce the interest rate from 7% to 6% if the farmer pays back the short term loans promptly. The best step is the proposal to move to a system of direct transfer of subsidy to the farmer. If implemented, this will be a very far reaching decision in enabling the farmer to get rid of middlemen.
  • I think the disinvestment policy, started by NDA, is back! This ministry was scrapped when the Left insisted during the first term of UPA rule. FM says that this time, the public also will be involved in this process. Maybe they will open up shares to the public this time, we have to wait and watch.
  • Rs.2,000 crore has been alloted for higher education, which is a huge amount. This amount has to be invested into improvement of infrastructure, and research and development. Otherwise, it is money wasted. If anything, we need more research to be happening in our country. That's the only way innovation can be nurtured.
  • Though expected, the outlay for Commonwealth games has been increased too. I have no doubt that we will succesfully conduct the games but we need to pump in more money into developing our sportspersons!
  • Our economy hasn't broken down despite the turmoil all around! The FM said that this was primarily because the RBI took a lot of steps to ensure flow of cash into the economy.

The Bad:

  • Spending on infrastructure is gone for a toss! I think the government has to choose between spending massively for social sector versus the infrastructure sector. UPA choose the former. A fine balance between both these sectors would have helped better in the development and growth of the country. It is important that we invest in roads, irrigation projects, sports facilities, law and order, power etc. Allotments have been made to these sectors, and FM concentrated on % increase in these sectors instead of the actual numbers.
  • The salaried class got nothing! If anybody is being affected with the economic downturn, it is the salaried class. The massive rise in food prices is affecting the middle class the most, and they got nothing from this budget.
  • Nothing in the budget says about how the government proposes to reduce the spiralling food prices. It would really have been good to hear about this in the budget.
  • I am not a big fan of the National Food Security Act, primarily because it talks only about providing Rice and Wheat at Rs.3 a kg for BPL families. Most of the state governments are already providing these at Rs.1 or Rs.2/-. Even in states that don't provide at these rates, rice and wheat are provided at Rs.5-6/- per kg. Now, what was the need to reduce this by just Rs. 2/-? This might prompt other state governments to get the rates lower. In today's time, I do not think Rs.5 or Rs.3/- really doesn't matter a lot to the BPL families too. Food security act should concentrate more on providing nutritous items at a subsidised price.

The Ugly

  • Rs. 500 crore for Tamil Refugees?!?! Seriously?!?
  • Rs.1000 crore for Aila Cyclone rehabilitation. While I have no issue with this money being alloted for this cause, pray what wrong did the people of Bihar do? Kosi river did massive and unprecedented damage to almost the entire state of Bihar, and they have been asking for funds from a long time. Yet, for reasons known to all of us, Bengal gets this provision!
  • These steps also sets an ugly precedent, because this brings into focus the stupid influence regional parties are beginning to have on national policies. Many such disasters have happened in this country, will the FM give the same level of treatment to all the states?


All in all, this budget was totally on expected terms. Neither was it path breaking, nor was it mind blowing! I thought that the middle class will get some cheer, considering the economic situation but it is the poor, the farmers and the corporates that seem to have benefitted from this budget. Also, given the huge amount of spending the government is doing now, the tone of the next two budgets might remain similar.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Alone at the peak..

"Sorry Pete. I tried to hold him off, but couldn't do it!". Andy Roddick's sense of humour is well known in the tennis circuit, but this was one a gem! Coming so soon after an incredible match that would have swung either way, Andy exhibited utmost grace even in defeat. If one were to set out to describe the 2009 Wimbeldon Final, one is sure to run out of superlatives! Andy Roddick conjured up a magical game (maybe his best so far) to give Roger Federer a true run for his title! In the end, just one service break is what costed Andy the match, but that one break is what made sure Federer is now alone at the Mount Everest of Tennis.

All time tennis greats, please step aside. For we now have someone who has surpassed you all. It was only befitting that most of you were there to wtiness this historic moment. It was only befitting to him that he won the record equalling 14th slam at French open and the record breaking 15th at Wimbledon! It's not just about the numbers. Numbers are just the end result of the magical art displayed by Roger on the court for the past 5 years. All of us who have been witness to this delightful display couldn't agree more!

His career so far is like a fairy tale story that every player can only dream of. To dominate the sport for 5 long years is no mean achievement. The journey that began with the 2003 Wimbledon victory, and picked tempo from the 2004 Australian Open victory onwards, seems to be just mid-way! It did seem that Roger was virtually unbeatable until Marat Safin beat him in the epic semifinal in the 2005 Australian Open. However, this defeat only propelled his urge to perform better and he repeated his 2004 feat of winning three grandslams in an year, in both 2006 and 2007. And just in case, you are wondering about the French Open, he reached the finals in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008! And when he finally won the French Open in 2009, he removed any doubt as to who the greatest player of all time in tennis is.

I am just elated beyond expressions to even continue writing about this great man. I am just glad that his game is not finished yet. I am also glad that they are some real competitors to him in the circuit (clearly evident after today's match), and that such matches bring the best out of him, thereby entertaining us more! I am glad to have been witness to some awesome tennis thrillers involving Roger, and I am pretty sure there are more to come. But for now, I want to revel in his glory too, as he stands alone at the peak.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Waiting in vain, for the elusive rain :(

Every morning I wake up with the hope that the sky will be cloudy, and the weather will be ideal for the drive to office. And every morning, my hope just lingers on!

It's already July 1st, and Hyderabad is yet to recieve good amount of monsoon rainfall. There were intermittent showers that lasted for a "full" 15-30 minutes! These were good enough to throw the traffic system out of gear, but were no where close to refreshing the sultrly, hot and disgusting weather we have been experiencing from like 3-4 months (or maybe more?)

Monsoon was expected much much earlier ... some cyclone threw the mositure out of the upper layer it seems :( . Whatever the reason, the wait is getting too long and too sad!

Monsoon ... pleasee.. come soon !