Thursday, December 27, 2007

In Hope of a Better Pakistan - Benazir Assassination

It's havoc in Pakistan. That doesn't sound like anything new; it has been messy out there for quite a while now. But not many would have actually expected the assassination of Benazir Bhutto - no matter how bad it has been in our neighbour's yards.
This is not about Conspiracy Theories; it is about a state that steadily seems to be losing out on the values of democracy. The focus is not on who plotted the execution; it is on how the state of affairs could have an influence on a normal, law-abiding citizen of the country - and on the progress of the nation.
For any developing nation, it is a struggle - to survive the schemes of politicians who fight among themselves to secure their places. To grow in these harsh conditions without succumbing to the constant injuries inflicted heartlessly by self-seeking demi-gods is herculean - missions worth life times. For every seed that grows into life, there are a thousand feet that are ready to stamp.
Still, seeds flourish and trees arise. Hopefully, we have a garden next door very soon.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

In the Business of Politics - Karnataka

It’s all out in the open. News channels have been following this relentlessly and the public knows it all. There is no room for “tongue-in-cheek” remarks or quips with sarcasm here. This is, hence, a plain vanilla post tracing the developments involving the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, the Rebels, the Congress and the people at Bangalore over the past few days.

A couple of years back, Mr. CM said he would be the CM and his deputy would be the DCM till it was half way; they would then exchange seats for the remaining term. They agreed.

When it was almost half way, CM realised that his DCM was actually from BJP, a party with communal colours. With genuine concern for the people and the state, and with the able advice of his experienced Dad, the CM started pondering over his future course of action when it was almost time to quit.

The DCM sensed this and raised an alarm in his party; DCM started exerting pressure on the CM and his family and set a deadline.

But the CM was, by now, convinced that his people are more important than the word given to his partner. With great difficulty, CM threw his word out of the window and decided to do something or the other to continue serving the society, staying on at the helm.

DCM screamed foul play. His party labelled this a betrayal. DCM withdrew support to the CM. Mr Governor and Lady President came into the picture.

This was an opportunity for rebels in the CM’s camp. The Congress was also smart enough to be opportunistic. The rebels worked overtime to squeeze a convenient alliance with the Congress.

The CM was annoyed. Why should both the CM and the DCM renounce power while the rebel takes all the money? Further, even though the CM and the DCM declared that they were ready to face fresh elections, they never actually dared to do so. They were responsible people and knew how much it would cost the coffers to hold fresh elections – and that too, with uncertain results.

CM sat with his experienced Dad and worked out the numbers. The CM always had, in one corner of his heart, the guilt feeling that he was sacrificing his word to his DCM for the sake of people. At one point in time, he had also thought of approaching the Congress to get back to power. The Congress is better than a communal party any day, he used to think. But he wanted to play a major role in making sure the Congress served his people. So, this rebel strategy of aligning with the Congress was not his definition of social service; and he would never entertain back-door entry.

This set the stage for Saturday’s action. The CM and the DCM got together again. The DCM had called the CM a betrayer; the CM and his dad had taunted the BJP as communal who would spoil the welfare of the citizens of the state if the power-sharing agreement was respected. But that was long time back. This strife for the past month made them realise how dearly they missed each other.

With this turnaround, the DCM has nullified his statement of calling the CM a betrayer; and the CM has also proved that when it comes to a promise, he could go to any extent to keep it.

So, in all, this short episode had lessons for all and sundry.

A lesson for the CM: Never entertain rebels; promises can be made, broken and repaired again.
A lesson for the DCM: Never be in a hurry to call someone a betrayer; you may actually re-align with him very soon.
A lesson for the rebels: Do not count the chicks before they are hens; politics is a T20 match – you never know what would happen the next ball.
A lesson for Congress: Make sound calculations and decide whom to align with; you may need full time experts for this process.
A lesson for the people: No betting in politics; do not react to movements; be extremely tolerant; just keep watching and move on. You are just not smart enough to understand games.

Monday, October 01, 2007

TATA/ VSNL Broadband Scam: The Fight Continues!

This fight against TATA Indicom/ VSNL Broadband is on at Orkut:
Readers who have been following this story may be surprised at quite a few revelations:
a. That even though a broadband service is from a name as renowned as TATA is, it could be spurious.
b. That even if courts in India are notorious for the time taken for judgement (as the myth goes), the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum is actually quite fast and effcient (Complaint filed in this case: 30 June 2007; Judgement Date: 13 August 2007; Days taken: 43)
c. That even if judgements are awarded in favour, even if the opposing party happens to be a supposedly reliable name as TATA, getting refunds is quite another story!
According to the court order, refund was to have been given in the case (1381/07) by 10 Sep 2007. There has been absolutely no news of any refund till today, 1 Oct 2007.
It is unfortunate that consumer rights are being treaded upon by companies whose brands have come to symbolise the power of corporate India and whose name still resonates as trust in the minds of millions of ordinary citizens.
There are always bad boys who amass wealth; but then, they would be avowed bad boys. But to preach of good corporate behaviour, project an image worthy of emulation and to practise socially objectionable business is dangerous. Brands grow too big, become larger than life and form a veil that would blind the consumer and keep trapping him in the glow. The internet echoes of complaints against TATA Indicom; while the money-power of TATA still powers the advertising campaign of TATA Broadband.
To extract justice out of such hypocritic organisations is only likely to be cumbersome. Clearway, hence, considers it its responsibility to announce to the world that all that glitters need not be gold.
Despite the judgement in case 1381/07, the fight for refund is still on. And since this violation is being committed by a larger-than-life company that TATA is, Clearway declares the behaviour by TATA, reckless!
Mr Ratan Tata has this to say in his website: "One hundred years from now, I expect the Tatas to be much bigger than it is now. More importantly, I hope the Group comes to be regarded as being the best in India — best in the manner in which we operate, best in the products we deliver, and best in our value systems and ethics. Having said that, I hope that a hundred years from now we will spread our wings far beyond India..."
Clearway has this to say here: "A quarter of that time-frame from now, I expect the Tatas to have lost their present shine and glory; In less than 50 years from now, they should count themselves lucky if the brand survives in India. By then, I hope TATA's would at least serve as case studies in demonstrating how NOT to do business and perish in the process"
The fight for Justice continues. Clearway invites Mr Ratan Tata to witness the proceedings!

Monday, September 24, 2007

On a Winning Note: While we celebrate . . .

It's cricket all over. The dream has come true. A team totally devoid of stardom is bringing home the Cup of Joy, Pride and Victory! 3 Cheers to Indian cricket.
While you may read all the positive stories in other sites, I feel pressed to express a not-so-pleasant angle to the rhetoric around the heroic episode of Dhoni's men.
Before we get there, this week has seen the young constable steal all limelight and be crowned the Indian Idol! Congrats Prashant, your humble background and your rise to stardom will inspire millions. And, India celebrates.
But hey, what's this all about? To a novice with no exposure to the Indian media, mention of "Indian Idol" and the question would pop up, "Indian Idol? How many lives has he changed? What's his story? Is it one of sacrifice? Has he revolutionised Indian governance? Has he arranged a pound of bread every day to the starving millions?"
One would have to respond, sheepishly, "Well, he sings"!
Does our Indian Idol do anything more than that, by any chance? Why is this hype then? Why would a country go crazy over someone because he has been able to imitate a few classics and item numbers? Where's the value? What's the point?
It was shocking when Ravi Shastri announced that the ICC has awarded a million dollars for the Indian team and "A crore of Rupees" for Yuvraj Singh, because he had hit, ahem, six sixes!
I was left wondering what one could do to the needy in a country like India with a few crores of Rupees! I was perplexed why half the number of voters in Indian Idol never care what governance, or the lack of it, is causing to the fibre of the country!
It's good to find a young team emerging out of nowhere; may be they think they deserve the prize money; and perhaps Yuvraj created a sensation which would go down in History as a golden episode in the first ever Twenty-twenty World Cup.
But I fail to see any coherent argument that would justify squandering crores of rupees on 15 people merely because they scraped through the final, because of one mis-hit by the Pakistani batsman.
Dear ICC organisers, my fellow country-men, are you in your senses?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Management Lessons for Life – from a Twenty-Twenty Cricket Match.

It’s amazing how valuable a Management Guru a cricket match can be! It drives home cases that may actually be over-looked in a B-School. I would suggest last night’s India-Pakistan Match be recorded and analysed for insights into life and management. A sample analysis is presented here.

1. Settle down before you wield your willow.

Or, you would get caught by the bowler, as was Gautam Gambhir. Even if it was a 20 over match with no time to spare, leaving odd balls out to study the turf always pays off before you train your guns for the big blows.

2. Be flashy and stylish, but never forget the old school basics.

You could be as fast and furious as Virender Sehwag would like to be, but if you leave a mile’s gap between the bat and your pad and forget to move your feet an inch, you end up slashing the leather ball through the thick edges of your own bat and dragging it on to your stumps.

3. You don’t always have to be extra-ordinary; just being consistently good pays off in style.

Pakistan’s Mohd. Asif knew this only too well. His steady pace, impeccable line and length and intelligent variations took the sting out of the Indian batting line and had them wishing his spell was over before he zapped a couple of more wickets, exposing the Indian tail by the 8th over of the match!

4. Despite yourself, do just what the situation dictates.

That was precisely what Robin Uthappa and Mahender Singh Dhoni did when they tried to anchor the wobbling ship being rocked by the Pakistani waves. Remember, tides are never always too high to tide over; just wait till you find your kind of wave.

5. In any situation, use your brain.

Harbhajan Singh forgot to apply this simple principle of life. To play off a couple of dot balls towards the end of a twenty-over match and to steal a single and the strike at the last ball of the over, with a king-hitter like Dhoni at the other end of the pitch underlines a lack of application of the thinking apparatus. And to try to hoist the ball out of the packed stadium and not trying to restore strike with another single to the man-in-form (and getting out and wasting another ball in the process) is a violation of the principle in bold, red and big font.

6. Believe in yourself, play your part and get lost for your team, if needed.

Irfan Pathan had mastered this rule. Two sixes in a row after a brief study of the conditions and back to the pavilion immediately after that made a lot of sense. You either perform or create space for others to work.

7. Kill complacence before it kills you!

The worst ball ever bowled in the history of cricket was the one by Harbhajan singh immediately after Shahid Afridi was dismissed. It was a slow, sweet, flighted half-volley with no scope to swing or turn at all, that could have been the best gift to offer to any batsman, with “SIX” written all over the ball. The relief in pressure after Afridi departed was understandable, but to have absolutely no force and to look weak, meak and tamed down would enliven even the flagging eleventh batsman in the opponent’s team. And that ball flagged off the fight-back that resulted in the assault the next over from Agarkar.

8. The environment is always unpredictable; the match is never lost till won – and is never won till it is actually won!

India had almost snatched defeat successfully from the jaws of victory. From a virtually unassailable position, they had forced themselves into a desperate situation. However, the team took its time in the losing final over, built up pressure with time and field changes and finally succeeded in running the scrambling batsman out through the well-executed run-out. You just have to keep your cool in a losing match to end it on a winning note.

9. Talk less, stick to the basics and emerge victorious. Your action can always do the talking for you.

The Pakistani opener Salman Butt was shooting his mouth out at the interview, while the match was still on, as if his team had already paid for its victory and was awaiting its home delivery. And then came the tie like thunder; and all that the teams had to do was to hit stumps with no one to block them.

What followed was a simple display of the ability to bowl straight by India; and to the horror of the opponents, three bowlers missed hitting the stumps in a row, one after the other missing the mark by a good foot or more! The rest is history.

10. The Bottom-line:
Decisions and events in life are as good as strategies in management; and all it takes is a clear sight, strong head over shoulders and a positive attitude to do the job as demanded by the situation. You get carried away and the whole world would come to know that you get the opponent batsmen bowled only by chance.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Judgement Pronounced: TATA VSNL Scam

That link is for those who may have tripped upon this blog by chance for the first time. And we have been moving forward from there at the moment.
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum at Bangalore has declared that TATA needs to compensate a complainant for "Deficiency of Service". The order was issued on 13th August 2007 (Complaint Number 1381/2007). TATA is to provide compensation to the complainant within 4 weeks from the date of its communication.
That is the first step. And naturally, Clearway is not happy with the judgement. A nation-wide silent scam that has been on for years, and just one party being compensated? What of the remaining thousands who have fallen and who still keep falling victims to the audacious bid to swindle?
What is needed is an awareness - and an initiative - and the will to last till the very end. There is such an initiative on at an on-line community at Orkut. Join the march for Justice at If you have suffered from TATA's Broadband scam and have been looking out for options, you may approach a Consumer Court near you and lodge a complaint yourself - and you may quote this case at Bangalore: 1381/2007 filed on 30 June 2007.
Too bad that TATA has taken so much time and space at Clearway; I would rather get done with this issue fast and concentrate on more productive stuff. Clearway doesnt like dwelling on dirty stuff for too long, you see?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Railways responds - and How!

That was the letter I got today from the Railways in response to my complaint - that made me, for once, think things weren't all that bad in the country after all! Munnabhai had just been awarded with the sentence and here is Railways responding to my complaint (Read the previous post: "Derailed by Railways!" at . And as in most cases of unfounded mirth, my joy was short-lived as well!

1. My Complaint was dated: 17 July 2007
The Acknowledgement was dated: 20 July 2007
Acknowledgement was signed on: 25 July 2007.
Why would it take FIVE days for a simple signature on an Acknowledgement letter to a complaint?
2. The Acknowledgement was signed by one Mr B Nageswara Rao, Joint Director, Public Grievences Cell.
Why would an Acknowledgement to a complaint wait for a signature from the Joint Director? Should an acknowledgement require a signature at all? Could a Receiving Clerk not dispatch the letter?
3. The Subject Line of the Letter reads: Complaint against TTE and other matters
Excuse me? Was my complaint against the TTE and "Other matters"? It was no ordinary matter that a train ran without water in its compartments, that it was actually supposed to be going for the repair yard and was never meant to carry passengers, that there were only two TTE's for the train while there were supposed to be 1 per every two compartments, that we raised the water issue at a Railway Station with the Station Master and he refused to act, that the Emergency Chains in the chain did not work!
My complaint was against Criminal Negligence of Responsibility that was capable of causing fatal damage to passengers!
And now, my complaint includes: Gross neglect shown by Mr B Nageshwara Rao, Joint Director, Public Grievences Cell, Southern Railways! My complaint was illustrative with photographs and with details. To sign on a letter mechanically without realising the seriousness of the issues in the relevant complaint is not what a Joint Director is in his seat for!
The issue has already been taken up for action. You may keep a track of events at

Monday, July 16, 2007

Derailed by Railways!

Passengers taken for a ride in a Train in Tamil Nadu; sub-standard services touch a new low in customer service.

Train No. 2690
Train Name: Nagerkovil - Chennai Special Train (Tamil Nadu)
Date of Journey: 15th July/ 16th July 2007

1. No Water Supply in many compartments all through the journey
2. No tap in the wash-basin

3. A cut, hanging pipe in the toilet

4. Poorly maintained, stinking toilets below basic standards of service

Frustrated passengers raise the issue with the TTR - get to know more of skeletons.

5. The Train is actually on the way to the Service Yard for repairs to Chennai - it was NOT supposed to be a Passenger Train.

6. The Train is labelled "Super Fast" and passengers are charged Rupee 20/- more than the regular fare.

7. Train Name/ Passenger list never displayed outside the bogies.

Passengers lodge complaint at Salem with the Station Master; the station master is non-committal and refuses any action. Passengers decide to pull the chain and stop the train at Salem to bring the issue to the notice of the authorities.

8. Three chains pulled - one after the other. NONE OF THE EMERGENCY CHAINS WORKED!

9. The "Super Fast" train, scheduled to arrive at Chennai by 11 am, arrives at 1:40 pm - delayed by more than 2 and a half hours.
10. Formal complaints to be lodged. SIgnatures of passengers have been secured in the complaint. Complaint is to be addressed to:
A. The General Manager,
Southern Railways,
B. Chairman,
Railway Board,
New Delhi
C. Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav,
Railway Minister

Railways have been taunted as fetching increasing revenues. Where do the revenues go? How low will the Railways stoop?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Presidential Politics: Where the Front never Backs!

Clearway talks with the Third Front and discusses their strategy for inaction, while looking into the Political Drama featuring the President.

Clearway: Why did you want President Abdul kalam to be the President again?
Third Front: See, he is already a President. Then why go for a new President?

CW: That is because his term has ended.
TF: We don't believe in Terms. In fact, even a Chief Minister has to remain in power for ever. We will ban Fresh Elections once we come to power.

CW: Well, that's a different issue. You tell us about the President.
TF: Our President is a Bachelor of Minority, Popular of Majority.

CW: Is that why you want him to be the President again?
TF: Off the record, no. The reasons are more intricate and political. We shall speak about them later.

CW: Did you consult the President before you took the decision to Project him?
TF: Yes. We called him up on his mobile. The call went to the Washing Machine. So, we recorded our message and went to sleep.

CW: The Washing Machine?
TF: The Answering Machine, we said!

CW: But did he agree and give his consent?
TF: Yes. The next morning, we saw a Missed Call in our mobile from his number. That was his consent.

CW: When the President had already made it clear that he did not intend to sit for a second term, what made you choose his name?
TF: Look, we formed the third front. And we needed a Blockbuster to announce its arrival.

CW: A Blockbuster? Why that?
TF: We have invested so much in the Third Front. A Blockbuster would boost our bottom line and would improve our Return on Investments. It's all about money, honey!

CW: Hmmm . . . clever move! But do you see how it has back-fired?
TF: No. We will draw maximum mileage in any case. The Congress and the Left are such morons, so insensitive to the will of the people that they refuse to support a sitting minority bachelor President who is the popular majorty!

CW: You say so. But the opposition says you have drawn the President's Office into political drama and caused unnecessary embarrassment to the President.
TF: What nonsense! If we asked him to contest, where did his decision making faculty go? He could have said 'no'. Who's mistake was that? Now CW, whose side are you in? We thought you have always supported us!

CW: I'm as of now on your right side. Anyway, what's your plan of action now?
TF: We will not support Prathibha. And the President has said he would contest if we could provide him certainty.

CW: But can you provide him certainty?
TF: We will certainly provide him with the certainty that we will, in all certainty, support his candidature untill he becomes uncertain of his certainty and withdraws his candidature with certainty.

CW: Poor President. And what after that?
TF: That depends. We are looking for a Fresh Presidential candidate. CW, if you know someone who may be interested in the job, please do us a favour and forward their Resume' to us.

CW: ???
TF: Don't worry, we can train him/ her for the job.

CW: But why dont you support one of the existing candidates?
TF: Huh? We would rather dissolve the Third Front than support the existing candidates.

CW: Dissolve the Third Front? What will you do then?
TF: Form the Fourth Front, of course!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Against TATA/ VSNL Broadband Scam!

This is how it all began: Red Alert!
Then, this followed:
The third was this:
The last piece on the issue can be found here:
And I still keep getting comments on how people get trapped into the mess that TATA is. So, is it time for some action?
I have decided to lodge a complaint with the Consumer Courts. The process may be long, the process may prove a failure, the process may have its own twists and turns. But the decision has been made.
If you want to take part in the campaign, drop your comment here. NO ANONYMOUS COMMENTS PLEASE. I need real people with real addresses to be commenting on this one. No, you dont have to provide your address in the comments - but you should be prepared to give your contact details if I contact you again. And I definitely need your e-mail/ web page/ blog details in the comment.
I'm serious about this cause. Are you?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Never Say Die!

What I need is a change in the system. What could change the system are the people. And what need to be changed is actually, the people.

What an irony it is that change comes in a vicious circle! To let this go on and on in an infinite indefinite loop is bliss! Yes, Ignorance is bliss.

We have a bomb blast in Hyderabad, we have a showdown in Punjab, and a harmless opinion poll turns disastrous for some innocent souls in Tamil Nadu. What could be done but be hapless witnesses of the series of unfortunate events that life is!

But to resign to fate and to keep watching is ignominy! Better would be to shut the self down and walk out. Or, fight it out and die – Die Hard!

Zero-Tolerance is where it all begins. It’s my life – it’s my game. I win it or you lose it. We form rigid boundaries around ourselves that raise an alarm at the slightest violation. But when it comes to my space? Why would I want to grow larger than life? Why would I want to stamp on every other life? Why can’t I just live and let live?

Easier said than done – and to say would be of no relevance if not done. To preach the principles of symbiosis and non-violence has its limits. What is needed is something more than just preaching. Spreading the message in your neighbourhood is all fine – but when countered with a more compelling message, the well-meaning thought gets lost.

What is needed is a change in the system – and people form the system. Live a loser – or, Die Hard!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Madurai "Chithirai Thiruvizha" Festival

Pictures from the Summer Festival in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, where thousands of devtoees from villages all around throng the Temple City, worshipping their Deity, Kallazhagar.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

“Lighting up minds”: Tamil Nadu Chief gives a new Definition

A look into the implications of the statement of a State Chief Minister

Our politicians have tuned themselves extremely fine to the nuances of their trade. Not the shrewdest businessman could play the tunes that would have the audience on their feet and leave them mesmerised as if on a trance.

It is bound to be a sensational statement when the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister warns that the “
oppressed classes will erupt” if the Quota system is not implemented. And that’s what politics is all about – sensationalism! And it’s not just sensationalism – the Sinister has actually proved his strength in confronting the law of the land, setting the example that a responsible citizen can actually talk his own free will, even if it’s against the will of the Supreme Court. Naturally, when the Chief Minister himself does that, it can never be a case of “Contempt of Court”.

The media may be at home breaking news with headlines that announce the minister’s staunch stands on the “War-path”. But some may term his statement “Inflammatory” because of his usage of word “Erupt”; that’s not to suggest the literal meaning of the word but just indicates “Flame”. And the Head of a State could not have made a better move in getting the masses together and adding fuel to a sensitive issue that’s already burning.

The seasoned politician has proved that he is capable of capitalising on this unique opportunity offered by the era to portray himself as a modern-day saviour of the oppressed and the suppressed. This ability to cash in on opportunities makes earn the title, “The Opportunist”. Further, he has spent a lot on votes the last elections when he gave away free colour televisions and cows to the rural people. His government may not be financially strong this time to give DVD players to buy the same votes that were bought with colour Televisions. And his game plan of flaming up passions in the minds will definitely work this time, it is hoped; there would be at least a handful who would be more than willing to “erupt” at the mere gesture of their leader – and the rest would be history.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Dead Team's Chest

It’s official now – Indian Cricket is dead!

Thus ended the story of the supposedly great team called India. What with everyone jumping on to the Blue Billion, World Cup Co la and all funny fantasies; it was made to sound like the ultimate victory that the pride of the nation hinged on. Now, it’s back to the pavilion where the customary rituals remain.

Enough post-mortem has been done over the reasons why the Indian team’s world cup dream died a premature death at the hands of more focussed individuals and teams. It’s time we realised it’s not just the death of a dream but the death of Indian cricket as such. It’s not just the world cup fiasco that prompts me to declare the demise of Indian cricket; it has been remaining in brain dead condition for a while now, with just the body in place, and no soul at all. With this World Cup, officially, Indian cricket is dead.

But, there is a ray of hope for the untamed optimist. Yes; as the rumour goes, the Dead Team’s chest has a heart that beats in it. The trick is to get to the chest and get the heart back into the body. And there are ways this could be done; there are ways Indian cricket could be revived!

Indian Corporate sponsors should sign up the Australian Eleven and the South African Eleven as their Brand Ambassadors in India. Every Indian name associated with cricket should be dumped into the grave yard by the corporate sector, mercilessly. The Indian Consumer Forum could even issue a legal notice to the Advertisers to this effect.

Further, the Indian Government could officially announce the Indian cricket Team and its coach and Selection Committee as “Non-Performing Liabilities”. The External Affairs Ministry could get in touch with Argentina and try to negotiate the exchange of Mr Q with the Indian Liabilities. To get rid of the same old faces into Latin America, from where there would be no escape route, is the name of the game. (Losing them in the Caribbean Islands was the best chance though).

Every Indian citizen would have to cough up a fine every time he mentions of Indian cricket and should be arrested should he spread the rumour that Indian cricket is still alive. Instead, every Indian should become supporter of any other team than India. There is absolutely no patriotism involved in such a stupid scandal as cricket. A game is after all a game; every Indian should announce with pride which country he support; and the Government must provide tax benefits for such supporters.

Finally, if at all the infamous eleven are to get back into the scene of action, if at all they should be allowed to lay their strained hands on the Dead Team’s chest, there are some stringent conditions that need to be fulfilled: The eleven Pirates should turn into Professionals and agree that they would not take up modelling ever, even if forced to utmost poverty and desperation; they should do nothing but practise cricket till the next World Cup, with none of their faces in any form of media whatsoever; they should part with at least a portion of the fortune they earned modelling and donate it for the development of other sports that India has good potential in; they should all release statements in the press continuously for the next six months announcing that it is Hockey, not Cricket, that is India’s National Game, till every Indian has read, pondered over and digested the harsh piece of news.

These are the last few ways of reviving the lone heart that still beats in the chest. But for the chest, Indian cricket is dead. And there shall be no face of the remnants of the team in any form in any media whatsoever, till the dead team’s chest is found and the team, revived!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mr Q and a Thousand Dogs

Clearway gets Mr Q on-line and catches up with what he’s been up to these days.

CW: Would you please identify yourself?
Q: This is Q.

CW: Thanks for coming on-line Mr Q.
Q: Shoot.

CW: No, we are not here to shoot you Mr Q!
Q: Hmm. I mean, shoot the Questions.

CW: Where are you now?
Q: Argentina.

CW: Why have you been dodging the Indian authorities all these years?
Q: I was dodging them. I am not dodging them now.

CW: So, are you willing to surrender?
Q: Of course.

CW: Then why are you not doing that?
Q: Your Government has no treaty with Argentina.

CW: But that’s only for extradition. Why don’t you surrender?
Q: Because if I do, there isn’t any guarantee for my life.

CW: Do you mean you are perceived as a threat to Indian big shots?
Q: No comments.

CW: Why is your extradition taking so much time?
Q: Because the reports need to be translated.

CW: But the Indian Ambassador to Argentina said the reports were already translated when they were sent to India.
Q: I’m talking of the reports that your Investigation Bureau sent in Hindi to Argentina.

CW: What do you think of our CBI?
Q: They have been looking for me since the times of Rajiv.

CW: What do you have to say about BOFORS?
Q: I hear the CBI officers are well paid. Let them do some work.

CW: How is your relationship with the ruling dynasty?
Q: Extremely pleasant and amicable.

CW: Mr Fernandez says Mr Vajpayee had instructed against acting on your file.
Q: Fernandez is one of your country’s acute and chronic problems.

CW: Are you aware that Q is the most popular English letter in India these days?
Q: I thank the media for all the publicity.

CW: Why do you think the BOFORS case is so important?
Q: The importance of any case depends on the number of heads that could roll with it.

CW: If you were an Indian, what would you have been?
Q: A politician. I could have earned much more and need not have gone underground.

CW: Why are there so many scams and scandals?
Q: Scams and Scandals are like Item Numbers in Bollywood movies. They spice up life. The media sells by publishing them, the public enjoys reading about them, the government stays on power blaming each other, and we live our lives swindling. They are a blessing for everyone.

CW: What do you think of India?
Q: It’s a good place to do business in.

CW: So, if invited, would you start a business in India?
Q: Well, I already have some invitations. I’m just waiting for some fresh passports.

CW: We heard you had an aversion towards dogs?
Q: Yes. They need to be killed at a rate of a thousand a day.

CW: But where do you think they could be killed in such large numbers?
Q: While I was in India, I had visited the Parliament and a few Legislative Assemblies. They are spacious halls with a good capacity.

CW: And then?
Q: Hold fresh elections.

CW: What’s your message to the Indian government?
Q: If you keep searching for me for some more time, I would die of old age.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

In a Democracy, Every "Bandh"ar is a King: Total Bandh!

Question: What is a "Bandh"?
Answer: Something that we do when we don't exactly know what to do.

Q: Why do you call for a Bandh?
A: In simple terms, we call for a Bandh because the Bandh can't call for itself.

Q: Who called for this particular Bandh?
A: The rivermen, the fishermen, the agricultural sons of the land and the village boys.

Q: Was this Bandh a success or a failure?
A: It was a resounding success.

Q: How do you say it was a success?
A: Because the objective was achieved unanimously and unambiguously.

Q: And what was the objective?
A: Next question please.

Q: Could you define a Bandh please?
A: It is a medium of expression, a birth right, a protocol.

Q: What did you express with this particular Bandh?
A: We expressed our solidarity and our immense sense of hurt with the verdict forced upon us.

Q: But they say the verdict is actually in your favour!
A: Really? Well, we need time to go through the intricacies of the verdict. Will comment later.

Q: What do you say of the team of people who studied the issue meticulously and pronounced the judgement?
A: A bunch of Jack ***es.

Q: Then why did you not protest the bunch of . . er . . I mean, the jury when it was initially formulated to study the issue?
A: We did not know that they would give a verdict so soon. We thought they would take a few more years before pronouncing the judgement.

Q: A few more years . . ?
A: Yes. This was a hotch-potch. This was an eye-wash. It is impossible to come to a judgement so soon.

Q: Why so?
A: Why? Because this is a flowing issue. You can not analyse something that is moving, you see? First, they should have stopped the river, taken the sample and then analysed it.

Q: Well . . . do you know which issue we are talking about???
A: Next question.

Q: Okay. You declared the Bandh to express your sense of hurt. Did your government work on other issues while you expressed yourself?
A: Other issues? Like?

Q: You see, most roads are bad in the city. You could have utilised the total lack of traffic to repair the roads in full swing. If you had done that, you could have expressed yourself and at the same time, you could have done something great, something that's very much the need of the hour and critical. And you dont have to cause traffic congestions at peak hours repairing roads.
A: Hmm . . . that's a good idea. It is your fault that you did not suggest this earlier. How irresponsible can you be!!!

Q: Me? Oh . . well . . in that case, now that I have suggested this, what are you going to do with the idea?
A: We are going to declare a Bandh every week. Every Monday, there will be a Bandh!

Q: Whhaattt?
A: Yes. Sunday is Government holiday. And we will be very eager to work on Monday. And as you said, the traffic and officegoers are a bad disturbance to us while we repair the roads.

Q: Well, I said *you* were a disturbance to the traff . . .
A: Yes, that's what I said. So, every Monday will be a Bandh. And we will repair the roads on Mondays, so that infrastructure in the city becomes outstanding. We want to set an example to the world.

Q: But don't you need a reason to call for a Bandh?
A: Of course. We are not idiots. The corporation water will be let open once a week, on Mondays. Since that reminds us of the burning issue of water, we will declare Mondays, Bandh Days.

Q: But then, the city gets water daily in most places, at least, once in two days.
A: That was the situation before the bunch of Jack ***es gave their verdict. Now, the sons of the land have been put to so much of hardship by the insensitive jury that we will have enough water only for one day a week.

Q: Finally, are you going to abide by the verdict?
A: No. We will appeal to the International Court of Justice against the injustice.

Q: The International Court? Why?
A: Why??? How can we give water to our rival nation when we dont have enough water for our own country???

Q: Excuse me . . . could you please tell us the name of your continent?
A: India, of course. Now, dont ask me what's the name of my country!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hang Him!

Day: 27 January, 2007; Saturday.
Time: 10:44 AM.
Place: C. V. Raman Road, BHEL Signal near Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
Signal Status: Red towards Yeshwantpur - Bombay/ Pune
Road Divider: Yellow Line.
Number of vehicles on the left side of the Yellow Line: Many.
Number of vehicles on the right (wrong) side of the Yellow Line: One
Type of Vehicle on the wrong side: Car.

Identity of the ONLY vehicle setting the Dirty Example: JUDGE – High Court of Karnataka

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Enter the New Year: Clearway 100

Clearway promises nothing new in 2007: The same wine, the same bottle, but just more vigour!
This year hasn’t begun in the best of notes. That makes it reason enough to report the Abhishek – Aishwarya’s engagement prime news to begin the New Year’s Blogging with. The most fantastic Bollywood pair has decided to make it all official after all the days of dating. And the two do look good together, don’t they?

The other news haven’t been all that bright: ULFA slaying humans in a fresh spree of violence, the Noida Serial Killing case that still seems to be unwinding to its full horror with loads of controversies about the modus operandi of the Noida Police Vs that of the CBI, yet another powerful son missing from the reaches of the law in Orissa, and of course, terror sneaking into South India reaching the corridors of IT companies at Bangalore – none of these would make a happy read if one were only too optimistic about the dawn of the New Year.

The government has its task cut out – reform! Reform has to be evident in every facet of the way the machinery functions. There is just not much choice left. If traces of terror are seen in Bangalore, it only means that the roots have already penetrated deep. If the CBI can unearth so many more bodies from the same damned places that the Noida police have been sleeping over for the past couple of weeks, it only indicates the poor state of affairs in State Police Departments, and the extent to which they have been ill-equipped to deal with exigencies. It would be no wonder if the serial killers found the police stations the best places to hide the bodies of their victims – it should come as no surprise should the CBI excavate bodies out of the walls of police stations! There is no room for complacence. Power doesn’t come free – the Prime Minister would be better advised to stay focussed on the tasks that he was elected for, rather than entering into the dirty trails of political rallies in Punjab seeking votes.

To end the beginning note this year, this is Clearway’s 100th post, in more than a year of its operations. While celebrating its century, Clearway promises never to take the road India’s politicians have cherished taking – enjoying the warmth of its position, no matter where! So, what is to be expected of Clearway in 2007? Nothing new – the same wine, the same bottle, but increased vigour! Clearway will pronounce verdicts on the good, the bad and the ugly. Where do you fit? You decide!