Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Judgement

Soem interesting excerpts from the judgement, which gives an insight into the logic used by the courts...

1. The disputed structure was constructed as mosque by or under orders of Babar.

2. It is not proved by direct evidence that premises in dispute including constructed portion belonged to Babar or the person who constructed the mosque or under whose orders it was constructed.

3. No temple was demolished for constructing the mosque.

4. Mosque was constructed over the ruins of temples which were lying in utter ruins since a very long time before the construction of mosque and some material thereof was used in construction of the mosque.

5. That for a very long time till the construction of the mosque it was treated/believed by Hindus that some where in a very large area of which premises in dispute is a very small part birth place of Lord Ram was situated, however, the belief did not relate to any specified small area within that bigger area specifically the premises in dispute.

6. That after some time of construction of the mosque Hindus started identifying the premises in dispute as exact birth place of Lord Ram or a place wherein exact birth place was situated.

7. That much before 1855 Ram Chabutra and Seeta Rasoi had come into existence and Hindus were worshipping in the same. It was very very unique and absolutely unprecedented situation that in side the boundary wall and compound of the mosque Hindu religious places were there which were actually being worshipped along with offerings of Namaz by Muslims in the mosque.

8. That in view of the above gist of the finding at serial no.7 both the parties Muslims as well as Hindus are held to be in joint possession of the entire premises in dispute.

9. That even though for the sake of convenience both the parties i.e. Muslims and Hindus were using and occupying different portions of the premises in dispute still it did not amount to formal partition and both continued to be in joint possession of the entire premises in dispute.

10. That both the parties have failed to prove commencement of their title hence by virtue of Section 110 Evidence Act both are held to be joint title holders on the basis of joint possession.

11. That for some decades before 1949 Hindus started treating/believing the place beneath the Central dome of mosque (where at present make sift temple stands) to be exact birth place of Lord Ram.

12. That idol was placed for the first time beneath the Central dome of the mosque in the early hours of 23.12.1949.

13. That in view of the above both the parties are declared to be joint title holders in possession of the entire premises in dispute and a preliminary decree to that effect is passed with the condition that at the time of actual partition by meets and bounds at the stage of preparation of final decree the portion beneath the Central dome where at present make sift temple stands will be allotted to the share of the Hindus.

Also, some other clarifications issued by the court in its judgement

1. Whether the disputed site is the birth place of Bhagwan Ram?

The disputed site is the birth place of Lord Ram. Place of birth is a juristic person and is a deity. It is personified as the spirit of divine worshipped as birth place of Lord Rama as a child.

Spirit of divine ever remains present every where at all times for any one to invoke at any shape or form in accordance with his own aspirations and it can be shapeless and formless also.

2. Whether the disputed building was a mosque? When was it built? By whom?

The disputed building was constructed by Babar, the year is not certain but it was built against the tenets of Islam. Thus, it cannot have the character of a mosque.

3. Whether the mosque was built after demolishing a Hindu temple?

The disputed structure was constructed on the site of old structure after demolition of the same. The Archaeological Survey of India has proved that the structure was a massive Hindu religious structure.

Read more: Text of Allahabad high court order on Ayodhya dispute - The Times of India

Interesting stuff there. See the way the court has established the joint ownership of the land. See the way the place of birth is considered a juristic person. See the observation about the structure not having been built as per the tenets of Islam, and hence not qualified to be called a mosque. All I can say is, I love the way the courts have gone about this extremely difficult and sensitive task with such grace, sensitivity, maturity and courage. My salute to India.

The Fine Balance of Power

The Ayodhya verdict as well as some of the other interesting judgements in the recent past bring to mind the very interesting model in which vibrant democracies like India are governed and administered.

Think about it. The people elect the government, which passes laws. The judiciary is then responsible for ensuring justice for all, many times going against the very same government that made those laws. Sometimes, it clarifies, sometimes it extends those laws, sometimes it directs the government on how to govern! The police enforces the law, and again, there's a fine balance of power between the police, the judiciary and the government. Then you have the civil servants, those smart "babus" who execute the decisions and policies of the government. Bring in a free and independent media, and you add another level of control and regulation. And then we also have the President (and at state level, the Governors) who has the right to dismiss Parliament (while the Parliament can impeach him/her).

Pretty fascinating...!


How was the Ayodhya issue solved?
Judges threatened to make Kalmadi responsible for building the "winning" structure - immediately, both parties decided to back off their claim :)

RSS Chief Speaks

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat is addressing the media - and it's heartwarming to see him talk about reconciliation, peace and harmony. He talked about not overtly celebrating victory, he talked about this not being about victory or defeat, but about the country's identity.

India has truly arrived!

Victory for United India - Ayodhya Verdict

The three judge bench of the Allahabad High Court has pronounced its verdict on the Ayodhya case, and all preliminary indications are that this is an excellent verdict aimed at bringing the country together... respecting all sentiments, being fair to all parties and upholding the glorious secular traditions of this country.

The Ram idol will stay where it is, and the location will be recognized as Ram Janma Bhoomi. This was unanimous decision of all three judges (incidently, there was one Muslim and two Hindu judges in the panel). The land will be divided into 3 parts, one for the temple, one for a mosque and the third for the Nirmohi Akhara. It's also been noted that while dividing the property, the Ram Janma Bhoomi will not be touched.

The suit of the Sunni Waqf Board demanding ownership of the entire land was also dismissed on grounds of merit.

Unfortunately, indications are that the SWB will appeal to the SC, and it's probably not end of the story.

In any case, this is a historic verdict and I am confident the country will now move on with peace and coexistence.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PC: Setting An Example

Strictly following the rule book, Home Minister P Chidambaram walked about 500 meters to reach a venue of Commonwealth Games after Delhi Police disallowed his personal security officer and car driver to accompany him for not carrying accreditation cards. Chidambaram abided by the Delhi Police officials' request and got out of his car and walked nearly 500 meters to enter the venue as his staff and car remained at the parking area.

Kudos to PC, kudos to the police officer. We need a lot more of this!

Bloggest Month and Year

Just noticed, this is already the month with the largest number of posts, and this year has also become the year with most blogs by far...

Guess I am getting more and more lukkha by the day! :)

And guess what, I am loving it!

Thunder and Lightning

Thunder, lightning and heavy rain today... hope it's the storm before the calm!

Aadhaar - Your Very Own Identity

Abridged from a TOI article:

India's ambitious Unique ID project dubbed "Aadhaar", which aims to give every Indian citizen a unique number mapped to biometrics, was launched today.

The enrollment officer (EO) sits at right angles to you and enters data into a laptop. There's a monitor in front of you, which mirrors the enrolment officer's screen so that you can point out spelling mistakes or other errors. There's a small laser printer behind the EO's laptop and a webcam, fingerprint reader and iris scanner account for the remainder of the hardware setup.

Only Name, Gender (Male/Female/Transgender) and Date of Birth are the compulsory fields.

The UID team acknowledges the fact that a large number of people may not have any supporting documents to prove their identity. In this case, one is allowed to bring another resident who is already in possession of an Aadhaar number to be an "introducer" by vouching for the person seeking to enroll.

A photograph is taken of the person getting enrolled, purely for the purpose of printing it out on the enrolment receipt, so that illiterate residents have some way of knowing that the receipt indeed belongs to them. Beyond that, the photograph serves no biometric or authentication purpose.

First there's an iris scan where you look into a binocular-like device held up to your eyes by the EO. After that it's the four fingers of each hand, followed by both thumbs (a process familiar to those entering the US) for your 10 fingerprints.

The EO makes you review the data entered one final time before giving you a laser-printed receipt. You then have to wait for the actual number to be delivered by India Post!

Article ends...

Now here's an interesting note. I have blogged about this before, but do you know what the major stumbling block for the UID project is? No, it's not logistics or hardware or software. It's the lack of useful biometric information in a large percentage of the target population! From cataracts to roughed hands, India's rural and poor populace will find it difficult to provide quality biometrics!

Joke: BMW

A man meets with an accident in his new BMW.
When the cops arrive, he cries "Officer, my brand new car..."
The cop replies, "Haven't you noticed that your left arm has been cut off in the accident?"
He looks at his left arm and screams, "OH GOD!.. MY ROLEX WATCH"

Joke: Just Married

A man and a woman who've never met before, find themselves on upper and lower berth of a long distance train.
At 2 am: Man leans over saying "Maam sorry to bother you.. Would you be kind enough to give me a blanket from the closet. It's awfully cold"
"I have a better idea" she replies... "Just for tonite, why don't we pretend we are married.."
"Great idea Maam", he replies in excitement.
She says, "Get up and take it yourself.."

Puja and Namaz - Coexistence is Beautiful

Yes another of the hundreds of examples of beautiful coexistence of multiple religions in India.

Two Delhis

Indian Express carried a nice center page article on the CWG. While the noise makers in Delhi sleep, it wrote, another Delhi was quietly working to make sure the deadlines are met.

The media is dangerous, says one of the watchmen at the CWG village. Maybe they are jealous because they cannot afford the five star apartments that have been built, says another.

Anti-Outsourcing Bill Blocked in the US Senate

Obama's anti-outsourcing bill which aimed to remove tax breaks for companies doing outsourcing has been blocked by the Republicans in the US Senate.

Thankfully, at least some Americans are thinking right! I am sure people realise that America isn't doing anyone a favour by outsourcing - it's the need of the hour if American businesses need to be competitive and survive! Obama's dipping popularity is calling for some desperate measures, but at the end of the day, economics rules.

Environmental Hazard

Do you know what's the most polluting agent in the developing and poor countries? Methane from cows and other livestock! The cows produce methane in their stomachs, as part of their digestion process - and by the way, contrary to what you may expect, only 5% of this is emitted from their behinds :) The rest is emitted from their mouths and nostrils!

So you see, to help in curbing global warming, stop eating grass and eat more meat :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reliance and Tatas

Reliance Power to raise 50000 crores of funds for their mega power projects, also talks on to obtain a large stake in BP's assets. Anil Ambani also outlines plans to create a Reliance Bank.

Tatas rebrand Corus as Tata Steel Europe.

Going places... CWG or no CWG!

D Day: 30th Sept

The Ayodhya verdict will now be pronounced on 30th Sept, after the SC rejected the plea for postponing the verdict to allow for possibility of an out-of-court settlement. Here's once again praying for peace and sense to prevail on Gandhi Jayanthi!

Bulk SMS

Do you know the government has currently blocked mass/bulk SMS facility from all providers to help in preventing rumour mongering and panic related to any developments on Ayodhya? As of now you can still send SMSes to multiple recipients from your cell, but you would have noticed that most of your cell notifications, including in most cases, notifications from credit card companies and banks, are no longer active.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Was hungry on the way home, wanted to catch some quick grub, and the power cut meant the Dominos was in the dark - and I ended up at the beautiful lounge cum restaurant, Trikaya, at the roof top of the Aditya Shagun Mall in Bavdhan, Pune.

With over 200 covers, spread in three sections of the sprawling, tastefully done restaurant, including a beautiful open air lounge, Trikaya also has a dedicated party floor for 300 guests. The menu spread is large and interesting, although a tad expensive. I did not get a chance to indulge in too much food, given that dinner was waiting back home - but the crab meat soup was delicious, and the grilled prawns with lemon basil were good, but the masala papad and the tandoori mushrooms disappointed. Service was OK, but definitely lacked the polished approach you would expect from such a do.

I will rate it extremely high for the ambience, and location of the building, but the empty mall, the lack of a staircase entrance, the service, the food and the price leaves a lot to be desired.

Will pay a couple more visits before I pronounce the verdict :) If you have been there already, do share your experience.

Footnote on 30th Oct: Extremely disappointing follow up visit today. See my update on this visit.

Movie Review: Wall Street - Money Never Sleeps

Gordon Gekko is back.

Michael Douglas puts in another great performance, this time against the back drop of the great recession and the carnage on Wall Street. "You are f***ed", he tells his audience at a book launch function. And only three words can save you: "Buy my book"!

When the young Jake Moore (Shia LeBeouf) loses his job, his million dollar bonus cheque and his mentor after his reputed investment bank (a la Lehmann) collapses due to lack of support from the government and regulators, he teams up with Gordon Gekko on a double mission: to avenge the death of his mentor, and to win Gordon's approval for the hand of his daughter. But jail has taught Gordon to value relationships a lot more than his money. Or has it, really?

The dialogues continue to rock, the performances are solid, and the inside view of Wall Street is rivetting, but the story meanders a bit towards the end, and you feel the editor's scissors could have done a better job. The two odd hours seem to stretch forever by the time you come to end, but otherwise, the sequel is almost as good as the original.

CSK Win Champions Trophy

CSK have won the Champions League... the Mahi-led team putting in a clinical performance against the Warriors in the finals, riding on a fantastic innings by Mike Hussey. I didn't see any of the games really, just been an overdose of cricket recently! And I want to keep the enthu up for the upcoming series against Australia in India.

This is also the last time the CSK unit took the field as is, given that all teams will be disbanded and go into a fresh auction for IPL 4.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

CWG - Beautiful

Check this album out for some stunning CWG pictures. Yet another album with similar pictures here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

PM Refuses To Meet Mike Fennel

The first smile on my face on the CWG mess - the PM has refused to meet Mike Fennel, asking him to meet other lower officials instead. Must say that Mike had the guts to demand a meeting with the PM, given his own dubious dealings and links to the CWG, as reported in various reports.

Kalmadi has also been completely taken out of the OC now, and Jaipal Reddy has been put in charge.

Silver lining?

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Looking at the pictures/reports on the CWG in newspapers and TV reports, one does tend to come away upset and disappointed at the rampant corruption. But it's also important we do not get carried away, and look at things objectively.

Stay with me for a moment, and maybe you will get what I mean.

The CWG requires HUGE amount of construction, and most of it is ready. On time. A few last minute preparations are left, but remember, this is very similar to your manager reminding you to hurry up before that all-important deadline. The reminder is fair, but you can't be faulted for being late yet! And a LOT can happen in those final moments - and I am willing to bet things will be all fine when the final whistle is blown.

There've been disasters and allegations of filthy and sub-standard work... but let's look at it a little more closely.

The pedestrian bridge was a serious accident - but it wasn't necessarily sub-standard work. A pin came off - and that could be carelessness or faulty implementation - but when an entire sub-city is being constructed at such a monstrous pace, I think we should allow some leeway.

Dirty toilets and unscrubbed floors - typical of any new construction site. Doesn't take long to clean up, and again, we are still some days away from the D Day.

Dog paw prints on a bed - is that really serious? A dog in a complex meant to house 7000 athletes is that big a deal? For all you know, the dog could have been following the TV crew!

And finally, the security "breach" reported by an Australian TV channel - what did they breach? An under construction site before security teams have started taking control?

I am not condoning corruption, I am not being stupidly patriotic, but let's also remember for a moment - Delhi has been grappling with unprecedented rains and floods, and yet, we are almost there.

And we still have some days to go.

I am willing to stand by the OC, and I am willing to bet these games will be a stunning show.

All we need, is some last minute jugaad, some luck and a lot of faith!

Croma Disappoints - Again!

Last Sunday, we ordered an IFB Dryer from Croma, which they promised to deliver the next day. However, Monday night Croma called to say they'd only be able to deliver on Thursday, since Tuesday and Wednesday were going to be Chaturthi Visarjan days.

Today, the machine was finally delivered - and turned to be defective. A small but critical plastic component had snapped inside the dryer, obviously broken in transit by the heavy metal clamps included inside the dryer.

Very disappointing.

Now I'm waiting to see how they fare at recovering.

Earlier this year, we had bought an LG Tromm washing machine, and I had similar painful experiences with Croma. See my earlier post.

Updates For Today

Ayodhya verdict stayed till 28th - cops get a breather for the next few days, serious efforts at maintaining peace by all political parties, Modi appeals for calm and communal harmony on TV

Manmohan Singh gets World Statesman Award by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith coalition which promotes mutual understanding, tolerance and peace.

CWG chief executive Mike Hooper and many country delegations upbeat and positive after latest rounds of meetings and discussions with the government, games are on, everyone also happy with security arrangements

Visarjan passes off peacefully, traffic finally back to normal in Pune

Yamuna very close to record high levels, threat of flooding very much on in Delhi and neighbouring states

Pak cricket in yet another controversy - Akhtar caught ball tampering. What's new in that?

CWG - What's Your Stand?

Chetan Bhagat has an interesting take on the CWG mess. While every one of us is hoping that somehow things will fall in place, the games will be a resounding success and India's image will be restored, Chetan thinks we should boycott the games, in the stadiums and on TV, as a strong message that corruption will not be tolerated any more. According to him, going to the games will be reinforcing our chalta hai attitude, giving a message to our children that while these games were a showcase of rampant corruption, at the end of the day, it's OK.

What is your take?

Visarjan Peaceful

In a major relief for the security forces, the visarjan ceremonies in Mumbai and Pune passed without any significant untoward incident. Next event - the Ayodhya verdict coming up tomorrow. Friday prayers will be key, people might be best advised to take it easy this weekend, and avoid unnecessary travel. If Monday comes without trouble, the worst will be over - and all we need to do next is hunt down the CWG cronies and get them to trial.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Katrina just got us a freshly killed grasshopper as a gift... so sweet :)

May not seem like a big deal, but think about it... for a cat, to catch something that delicious, and then carry it up 2 flights of stairs, uneaten, in her mouth, and wait at the door to be let in, just to put it at her master's feet.. I think that's huge.


On Oct 20, 1995, DDLJ opened to packed houses and became a cult classic. I was in my final year of Engg, and Madhavi and I watched the movie together - our first - on 200/- donation tickets at a special screening. Since then, 15 years have passed by. I did my MTech, married, got a job, had a baby. My baby has grown up into a 9 year old darling, I've completed 12 years on my job.

Life's changed. The world has changed.

But DDLJ continues to run at the Maratha Mandir in Mumbai, on target to complete 800 weeks of continuous running in Feb next year!

Now that's PERSISTENT :)

Spoil Sports

You might have heard that Wikipedia has gone ahead and revealed the secret of one of Agatha Christie's famous murder mystery plays, 'The Mousetrap', by identifying the killer. For almost 60 years, the identity of the killer in the play has been one of the most closely guarded secrets, with audiences asked not to reveal the twist in the ending. Not anymore. The identity of the killer has been published online by Wikipedia, despite protests from the author's family and petitions from fans to remove the spoiler.

Another spoil sport is the Magician's Code on AXN, which breaks the secrets of some of the oldest and most exciting, and obviously-magical tricks, including stuff that David Blaine does to leave you scratching your heads in amazement. The best part is, whether it is purely illusion, or some pretty acrobatic sleight of hand, when the secret is revealed, it's almost too easy to have been a secret in the first place!

I watch it :)

Ford Warranty and ICICI Lombard's Guarantee!

Gave Samara for her 10K, 6 month free servicing yesterday, and the service advisor told me the brake discs would need to be changed, and given that this is wear and tear, it wouldn't be covered under warranty - and the price tag - 13000 rupees. I was pretty upset, because no matter how much wear and tear you consider, the brake discs simply cannot be wearing off that fast!

Background: I had started hearing the screeching sounds from the brake discs a few days back, and it got really bad on the way back from Goa to Pune. Obviously, the rubber had completely worn off, and a 500 km trip really screwed up the remaining disk.

I talked to the manager at Planet Ford, who promised to look into the matter and get back to me in the morning today. And yes, Ford approved the warranty and I got them replaced for free.

When I went to collect the car today, the seat was very dirty and there was a scratch on the bonnet, but the Ford guys promptly got it attended to. They should've definitely done it before I pointed it out, but at the end of the day, everyone makes mistakes, and it is the recovery that matters. And Ford did great with that.

PS: ICICI Lombard still sucks, my problems with them have no end, and I have given up trying to explain to them what my problems are. When I need to spend so much effort just trying to get them to understand what the issue is, there's no hope for redemption. With ICICI Lombard, disappointment is a guarantee!

Ganesh Visarjan...

...starts in another 2 hours, and thankfully for the millions of devotees expected to throng the roads for a last darshan, the good news is that the clouds have cleared, the downpours have stopped, and the skies are blue again.

Sensex at 20000 Again

2.5 years after conquering the 20K mark, before going down to sub-10K levels, the Sensex has crossed 20K again - and looks set to stay there for some time. While robust FII inflows might be a cause of concern - when these funds pull out their money, the markets inevitably collapse - what is heartening is that the rally this time is primarily based on growth and fundamentals, not just on artificial demand creation. Strong growth in the banking sector, sustained 8% overall growth, and a resurgence in manufacturing and infrastructure, coupled with good monsoons, means that another 5-10% rise in the Sensex is not unthinkable.

India Third Most Powerful Nation

Maybe hard to digest and believe right now for most, but a US report has listed India as the 3rd most powerful nation after US and China, and fourth most powerful bloc if you consider the EU. Yes, we have our problems, corruption - never better demonstrated so publicly than with the on-going CWG mess, poverty, and terrorism, and yes, we may still not really be 3rd most powerful, but one cannot deny the huge strides this country has made in the last decade or so. We have a very strong and capable army that stays completely out of politics, a very robust democracy that is the envy of the world, free press and pretty much impartial judiciary, a very vibrant economy that has withered the latest storms with flying colors, led by a strong industry and a pretty capable and effective government.

Here's raising a toast to the India story, and hoping this country will soon rid itself of its last remaining problems!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Early Morning

Woke up pretty early today, at 7, to get my kiddo to school, since mom's away on a business trip. And 2 hours later, I feel like I have lived an extra day - god, there's so much time, and I got so much work done, and it's stiill only 9 am! Even my cats are wondering what the heck is wrong with me, they have now given up trying to figure it out and gone back to their siesta.

Conveniences and Growing Up

Growing up in rural Goa in the early 80s meant that the only conveniences we knew were electricity (when it wasn't out), pressure cooker and mixer-grinder. Yes, the fridge too. Mid 80s also saw the arrival of the idiot box, although one had to wait till 630 pm for DD to start playing it's programmes, Kilbil and Amchi Maati Amchi Mansa kicking off the day. One fine day, Dad got an electrric pump installed in our well, and lo and behold, we had pumped water! The washing machine followed some time later. No more beating against the big rock, clothes could now simply be dumped into the machine and out they would come - squeaky clean. Well, mom never agreed they were clean enough, but it was good enough for me. The telephone came sometime in the late 80s, although we had only 20 odd subscribers in our village, our telephone number had all of 2 digits, and we needed to make a trunk call to call my dad, whose office in Panaji was just 8 km away. When the VCR came, we were stunned - we could now watch movies for a paltry 10 Rs VCD hire charge, instead of paying 15 Rs per ticket in the stinky theatres. And, we could record our favourite ads! For many, many years after that, nothing changed, until the mobile phone in the late 90s. And the computer too, is soon becoming a household appliance, coupled with broadband and webcam.

Today, 2 appliances are must have conveniences in my opinion. The UPS/Inverter to power-shutdown-proof your house, and the Dryer to get you rid of the smelly-in-the-rains half-dried clothes. Interestingly, while these are very cheap and have been around for quite a while now, most houses I know do not have them! So my advice for the day - if you haven't got these babies yet, go shell out the 30K and make sure you do not miss out on the conveniences of the decade :)

Narcissist, Too

Narcissist :)

Taxing Times Ahead for the Security Forces

Sept and Oct promise to be difficult times for the Indian security forces. Ganeshotsav comes to a close this week, and Mumbai will be on tenterhooks. Then we have the CWG, a perfect target for those aiming to destabilize the country. And if that was not enough, we have the Ayodhya judgement due on the 24th - and with it, the potential of widespread communal tension and frenzied celebrations/protests.

Hopefully, better sense and the rule of law will prevail.

Who Kept Your Money Safe?

2 years back, when the Lehmann Brothers collapse quesitoned the very fundamentals of the free market economy, and sent the American and European economies into a tailspin, many predicted doom for India too. Yet, the Indian juggernaut came out of the crisis pretty much unscathed.

The Indian Express Sunday magazine yesterday carried a pretty interesting account of the critical one month after the news of the Lehmann collapse, from the near-death experience ICICI had at the hands of the rumour mongers and how the crisis was defused by Kamath, who had recently taken over the head honcho role, the role of the RBI - initially lukewarm until prodded into serious action by the government, the urgency of action shown by the SEBI, and above all, the amazing leadership displayed by the PM Manmohan Singh, the FM Chidambaram, Planning Commission Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and the three top babus, all of whom had been appointed barely days before the crisis ignited - Union Finance Secretary Arun Ramanathan, Union Economic Affairs Secretary Ashok Chawla, and the new central bank governor Subbarao.

Never before had government decision-making been so unorthodox, there was no time for files and bureacratic rules. and while bankers, regulators and businessmen were crucial, it was the political appointees in the government who were ultimately responsible, and get the credit, for keeping your money safe.

Super Sunday

It was a super Sunday for Indian sport yesterday - the Indian Davis Cup team came back from 0-2 to down the Brazilians 3-2 on the back of sterling performances by youngsters Rohan Bopanna and Somdev Devarrman to enter the Elite Group, Sania came back to form to win yet another WTA doubles title, and Mary Kom continued her winning spree in World Boxing winning a gold.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Trip to Cab De Ram

The late evening sunlight shimmers on the wonderful greenery and the sea below the fort

Off in the distance, an island beckons

A wonderfully secluded beach backed by a coconut orchard, I won't give you more information on where it is!

The main entrance foyer of the fort


Three musketeers

The coconut trees rush to meet the waves

Rich hues of the evening

The monsoon clouds add tremendously to the beauty of the evening sky

The final rays of the sun before it goes down

Uttorda beach, outside The Kenilworth

Simply mesmerizing

Cats at the Kenilworth

The Man, The Vision

Siddha, my bro-in-law...


Up On Zoo Zoo Hill

Samara Goes Naughty

Samara is Kid's Play

With Sanam at the Cabo De Ram plateau

Some more shots, this time from outside

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Conquest of DCH Fort

The Chapora Fort, made famous by the DCH movie, is situated at the north of Vagator beach, and can be approached from the Western beach side, as well as the South side. By foot. Yesterday, we attempted it in Samara. With a full load of screaming and excited kids and adults. And we almost reached the top. Here are some pics from the "event".

Almost at the top from the South side, further progress aborted due to fear of some of the larger rocks and the steep slope coupled with lack of turning space at the top

Beautiful view from the top

Wonderful greenery engulfs the fort's ramparts
The Fort, as seen from the car
Looking back at the slope we climbed, notice the loose rocks and gravel
Back to base, this photo gives a true picture of the steep slope
The Arabian Sea shimmering in the late evening sun
The lone sentinel
View to the East, the bay of the Chapora River
View to the South West, the Vagator Beach
Further South West, the palm fringed and rocky Vagator coastline

View to the North, across the Chapora River to Morjim Beach

Far off in the distance to the South, the Zoo Zoo Hill

Movie Review: Dabangg

Apparently, Dabangg has broken 3 Idiot's record at box office collections. Apparently, there are a lot of idiots out there ready to pay big bucks to watch a ridiculous and badly made movie.

The action sequences are straight out of Rajneekanth's world and will certainly bring out some laughs. Salman breaking into a dance every time the gangster's phone rings with a musical ring tone will also bring a smile, which becomes a laugh when Salman asks the henchman to forward the tune to him. But for the rest 95% of the movie, you will need to be a super patient yogi to sit through the meandering story line, the hamming of actors from yesteryears acting as if these are the yesteryears and some completely avoidable, or let me put it this way, SHOULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED song and dance sequences. Salman has completely taken the Govinda route to box office "success", and while I cannot fault him for it, one wonders why he cannot at least learn a couple of more dance "moves". Sonakshi Sinha looks good in small parts - the rest of her needs to shape up :)

Overall, an avoidable movie, unless you are a die-hard Salman fan, or the only other movie choice for the day is Raavan.

Movie Review: Step Up 3D

With some stunning dance moves, much better than in the earlier editions of the Step Up series, and this time in rich 3D, this is a must watch movie for dance buffs. While the story line and the super sexy Brianna Evigan made Step Up 2 a better movie overall, this one won't disappoint. Go for it.

Movie Review: We Are Family

When Karan Johar makes movies, you expect it to be a long and heavy emotional drama. The title of We Are Family gives you enough indication of what to expect. But take Karan as a producer, add a newbie director, and SRK out from the combi, and you get a concoction that can only be described as We Are Disaster.

Kajol and Arjun are separated with 3 kids, but when Kajol is diagnosed with cancer, Arjun's girlfriend Kareena decides to help out and becomes a part of the reunited "family". Will she win over the kids loveas their new mumma? A weak and uninteresting plot to start with, the movie meanders along towards an unbearable climax. Arjun looks good and plays his part, the haggard looking Kajol tries hard to win the sympathy of the audience, but something about her characterization doesn't work right and you end up getting irritated with her tantrums. The kids are super irritating, a rare example of sweetness that gets on your nerves. The eldest kid can only be described as an overgrown baby, the director needing to use an adult to play the role of a school kid, given that no real kid would want to get groped on her bum for a completely needless scene. The saving grace is Kareena, who plays her role to perfection, and looks stunningly beautiful in most of the sequences.

The cheesy dialogues and boring screenplay are made worse by a very loud soundtrack a la the movies of the 80s and early 90s. The songs are as forgettable as they come, the music can best be described as pedestrian, and the jail house rock sequence sucks.

Net net, one wonders if Karan is all about SRK - take out SRK, and all you have is nothing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ganesh Chaturthi

The Matoli - offerings to the idol

Samara's Playground


A very long-range zoom shot of Anjuna beach from Zoo Zoo Hill

One of the countless holy crosses across Goa - on Zoo Zoo Hill 

A beautiful stone arch bridge near Goa Velha

Golden orange hues of the sunset on Zoo Zoo Hill

No words needed to describe this beautiful sunset

The deep blues of the Arabian sea provide a fantastic contrast to the golden sunset

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Up The Stairs...

Sexy Samara

Cows and Dogs

An amazing thing happened at the beach yesterday. We were playing near the water when a huge herd of playful but dangerous cows charged on to the beach. All excited and prancing around but definitely dangerous for small kids and the lounging tourists. But our concerns quickly turned to amazement when a bunch of stray dogs that until then were vying for our pats suddenly got their act together and charged at the cows ensuring they all kept a safe distance away from us. And that wasn't all. Siddha and Samah had been separated from the rest of us and guess what? There was one dog dutifully standing guard beside them, a lone sentinel away from the rest of the charging soldiers. Truly a surreal experience.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It's funny driving a MH car in Goa... You're a local and a tourist at the same time and you experience things you never get to experience otherwise!

Goa Adventures

It's been a different trip so far. Took a different route from Pune and regretted the decision - heavy traffic, bad roads and roadside bazaars meant very slow progress and it was almost late afternoon by the time we reached.

Ganapati also meant lots of varanbhat and batatyacho fodyo instead of squids and fish :)

We had fun today off road though. Zoo Zoo hill has always been a favourite and the green grass cover made it evensexy more sexy and fun. Then we climbed some stairs :) Wait for the pictures - they're coming up soon!

I'm sitting at Cafe Coffee Day at Miramar sipping a Frappe and life's beautiful :)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

What's Making News

India-Pak team of Bopanna and Qureshi in US Open Finals
CWG preparations in Delhi in trouble, but India will host F1 in 2011
Chiliean miners still trapped, in their second month
German Bakery blast mastermind arrested in Pune
Delhi braces for worst floods in 30 years
Pune roads braces for biggest pandals in 30 years
Goa braces for Samara

Monday, September 06, 2010


Indian defence scientists created a world record on Sunday by flight testing the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos off the Orissa coast. It was for the first time that a cruise missile was tested at supersonic speeds in a steep-dive mode.

The missile, which derives its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskova rivers, was developed by an Indo-Russian joint venture after the two countries signed an agreement in February 1998. The 8.4m long missile can hit a target at a distance up to 290km. The missile can travel at three times the speed of sound and carry a conventional warhead weighing 200-300 kg.

Read more: BrahMos test-fired, creates world record - The Times of India

Sunday, September 05, 2010


When we were kids, we grew up listening to stories of Russia versus America, and while India had Russia's support, we envied Pakistan for being supported by the mighty America. In the early 80s, as school kids, Russia meant Ivan the Terrible and witches and princesses, America meant a dying Reagan holding the dreaded Hydrogen bomb, ready to let go and destroy the world the day he died! As we grew out of the Ivans, Russia quickly became a failed state, Glasnost and Gorbachev bringing about the end of our friend. In the late 80s and early 90s, America became the land of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and Archies, and Rambo. The country that always came to the rescue of the world in the face of aliens and natural disasters.

Come 2000, though, the perception of America quickly changed from a protector of the world to the aggressor, the victimizer. From saving Kuwait, it soon came to be about an invasion of Iraq. The second invasion of Iraq, the non-existent WMDs, and even the bombing of Afghanistan and subsequent occupation came to represent the new America. Add to that the racism bubbling to the fore after Katrina, the collapse of the economy, the Enron saga...

What does America mean to you today?

Try and Try..

Did you hear about the 69 year old South Korean lady who finally got her driving license after her 960th attempt? Now THAT's persistence!

Movie Review: She's Out Of My League

Touted as the biggest comedy after Hangover, SOOML will not meet your expectations - at best, it's a one-time watch if you have nothing else to do. A hard 10 meets a 5 on 10 boy, and surprisingly, falls for him. Is it true love, or is she just playing it safe? The movie has its moments, but excessive vulgarity that neither titillates nor makes you laugh robs it of its appeal.

Avoidable. Instead, watch Hangover again.

Movie Review: Shutter Island

U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner arrive at Shutter Island's Mental Hospital for the criminally insane to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Ted's volunteered for the assignment for a personal reason - his wife's killer is also on the island - but it soon looks like he's been brought there as part of a sinister plot. As Ted investigates what he believes are sinister human experiments on the island, he is refused access to hospital records, which only serves to deepen his suspisions. When a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland and dangerous criminals escape in the mayhem, Ted takes the opportunity to visit the lighthouse at the far end of the island, and comes face to face with the chilling truth, making him (and you) doubt and question everything, including his own sanity.

An absolute thriller of a movie, though a tad slow at times, Shutter Island needs to be seen at least a couple of times with rapt attention to fully grasp the genius of the director Martin Scorsese.

I missed it in the theatres (was it released here, I cannot remember), but a definite must-watch.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Blame Game

And while Scotland Yard has reported marked cash found in the Butt, oops, I meant, in Butt's locker, Pakistan is back to its favourite passtime - blaming India for the match-fixing scandal :)
After blaming India for terror attacks, and the floods, its cricket scandals now. Remember Afridi chewing the ball? Hey, an Indian fan sent it to him telling him it was an apple, how can you blame him? :)

Wonder what will come next?