24 Jan 2007


Mr Wadia Nusli, promoter of GoAir was found to be carrying a revolver with 30 round of live ammunition at the Dubai Airport when he disembarked from an Air India flight. Am I surprised? Not really. What would surprise me would be when a high jacking takes place and we say, “How could they have got the weapon on board?” “How did they manage to get past security?”

Getting past security is easy, because the security check is just an eyewash. Personally I have been through the Bangalore airport with a toothpaste tube in the top most pocket of my hand luggage. This was after the London scare and there was a huge notice saying that deodorants, toothpastes and other such tubes / canisters were not allowed aboard the flight. We behave in a total lackadaisical manner and expect everything to fall in place.
Guess now we know why there was such a commotion when George Fernandes got strip searched in the U.S. Going from not being searched to a strip search would have definitely been a very unsettling experience.

Read the whole story here

22 Jan 2007


I'm trying out wordpress at http://mundanemusings.wordpress.com I will be posting on both blogs for the time being. Depending on my experiences there i will decide which blog to continue with.

Shilpa the CELEBRITY

Last week if I had said Shilpa, I would have been greeted with a Shilpa who? But today, I’d probably hear, “Oh! That poor thing. We should really teach these Brits a lesson.”

30,000 highly skilled Indian workers are facing expulsion from Briton because of their proposed new immigration laws. But our foreign minister prefers to talk to Chancellor (prime minister in waiting) Brown on “racism” on a TV sop!!!! Dude. It is a DRAMA series. NOT an intellectual discussion determining the fate of our country.

Heaven help us. When Shilpa decided to take up the offer, the news was buried somewhere in page 10. Now it is front page news. We even know the name of a previous Jane Doe. Guess it just goes to prove that there is no such thing as bad publicity. More and more eyeballs are glued to the idiot box tuned to “Celebrity Big Brother”. Viewer ship ratings of channel 4 have gone up along with the number of complaints.

Get a life people. I mean, its not like she didn’t know what she was in for. She is being paid 350,000 pounds for it!!!! But that would be pittance compared to what she can earn in the future. She has become a household name in England. Sponsors will be a mile long the moment she gets out of that Rat Hole. Why do I think so? Simple. 82% of the voters on the show voted to oust Jade Goody. And if this is any response to go by, Shilpa will probably win the episode on the wave of sympathy factor alone. If that isn’t enough, one well placed barb in Hindi from Shilpa and she will be able to milk this non issue for all it is worth.

And for the record, aren’t all of us moral cops racists? Have you never bad mouthed a neighbour or friend? Never called another person names? Caste, class & religious politics and policies are all racist. Stop venting your moral frustrations on a non issue. If you really feel so bad about the subject, then try to do something useful like fighting caste and other grounds of discrimination in your neighbourhood.

20 Jan 2007

Utharayan the Kite Festival

From riding at 90 kmph to traveling at a speed of 5 kmph over a distance of 3 kms is not something that occurs everyday. But with the kite festival kicking off in full swing on Utharayan, there was no other option.


Utharayan or the kite festival is one of Gujarat’s most touted tourist attractions. It is celebrated on the 14th of January every year. It basically consists of all and sundry getting on to the top of the nearest high rise and flying kites. No. It doesn’t end there. The kite fights start next with each person trying to cut off the next person’s kite string.  It gets very competitive. Cutting free the most number of kites with a single kite becomes an ego issue with people refusing to get off the rooftops even after dusk. The number of kite fights can be guessed by the fact that a week after the event, broken kites can still be found on the roadside, stuck on telephone or electric lines.


It goes to the extent that people have kite strings laced with glass pieces. I can just imagine the plight of the poor birds that have to fight with the kites for space. I walked instead of taking my bike when I went out that day. But that didn’t prevent me from getting cut by one of the kite strings. If while walking at 5 kmph I can get a minor cut, one can just imagine what would happen to birds or two wheeler riders. To give you the enormity of the situation, for a week before the event we had newspapers advising people to wear helmets and mufflers while riding two wheelers to prevent injuries. What the cops couldn’t manage to enforce in a year with fines, the festival managed to do in a matter of days.


Other than that the place comes alive with kites in various colours and styles. You get to see people making kites, kite threads, dying threads and selling them. You don’t need to go to a remote location or factory to see it. It happens on the foot paths besides the road at intervals of 500 to 800 meters.  Kites are sold in pieces or sets. The sets can consist of anywhere between 5 kites to 100 kites. The prices of kites vary from Rs 2 to Rs 1000+. While the 2 rupee kites are similar to the ones you might have made when you were in school, the more expensive ones are made fabrics in a variety of shapes. You can get a silk ‘miniature airplane’ kite for the right price. Need I say anymore?


As with any festival, it is also an excuse to socialize. Til ladoos, gilabies, chikki etc are some of the sweets made in huge quantities on Utharayan. These sweets are freely distributed to all friends and neighbours. If you think that people will get bored with 15 to 20 recipes of the same sweets, you haven’t experienced the Gujarathi sweet tooth yet. Gujju’s are renowned for their love for sweets. So much so that they decided that this excuse to binge on sweets and fun, for only one day in a year, was inadequate. Thus began Vassi Uthran which literally is the day following Utharayan.


It is pretty much a two day festival right now. But what has been done once can always be done again. I don’t think it will take long for the people here to make it another Navrathri or nine day festival of colours, fun, a little competition and lots of sweets. After all, how many of us could turn down an excuse to spice up our mundane lives?


11 Jan 2007

The Mob


It has been stated that those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Some times when I reflect over 2006 I remember stuff like, “Angry mobs” burnt the Deccan Queen when Ambedkar’s statue was allegedly desecrated. “Angry mobs” entered Kaif’s house and vandalized it during his poor performance at South Africa. The killing of a college lecturer because of delayed elections by “the mob” caught on television.


 “Angry Mobs” ???? Who is this “mob”?  Who gave some one the right to kill or damage the property of another person just because they felt hurt? Is it that they are safe in numbers? I mean, causing 7 crore worth of damage to the Central Railways on an allegation. Barging into another person’s house and destroying his property just because he was out of form and our “Indian Cricket Team” lost. Are these valid reasons for causing damage to life and property?


Doesn’t it sound strange that a bunch of people who were upset about a rumor could organize for enough petrol to be poured over a bunch of railway carriages and set them on fire? I don’t think so. It sounds more like the handiwork of some people wanting to gain political mileage or letting his sadistic side loose by hiding behind the safety in numbers.


Who is this “mob”? But it seems that we would rather pay a million dollars in taxes to pay for the repairs than try ask the million dollar question.


4 Jan 2007

A matter of convenience

I’m sure all of us have heard of one way streets. But, have you heard of a one way street for pedestrians???? Well, guess what, it exists. Or rather it existed for a day. On New Year’s Eve, Bangalore’s Brigade road was sealed off for traffic and made one way for pedestrians!!!

While the reason given by the administration is convenience and prevention of XYZ, one wonders to what extent are we willing to go for convenience.

We have given up our freedom of speech for fear of hurting religious sentiment. We don’t mind being strip searched at airports for “better” security. We agree for the U.S. government to go through our credit history and email inbox if we book airline tickets into the USA online. We agree to Google going through our mail for content driven advertisements since they give us a 2 GB mailbox. I could go on and on. But what is the use? People aren’t going to fight for their rights. It is just convenient for us to look the other way.

Corruption, rape, murder, terrorism, poverty, hunger, AIDS are happening around us. It is CONVENIENT for us to allow the government to look after these issues. We look the other way as long as it doesn’t affect us.

One cannot help but wonder, “How much is too much?”. Will we only wake up and scream when the monsters knock on our door step?