Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hello South America

Trupti flies to Rio before me and I see her in Mid-August

We watch the summer Olympic games and then off to roam about the American continent. First stop - Manaus in the middle of the Amazons.

Then to Santiago. Hope to meet my old hockey pal there.

Santiago to Calama would be a short flight but a complete change in the geography. We will be in the middle of Andes!

This could be the most fascinating journey when we drive from San Pedro De Atacama to Salar Di Uyuni. Can't wait!

Uyuni to la Paz. Not sure what we want to do there? May be go to the Lakes and relax before I come back to London.

I am coming back but Trupti carries on her trip!

Santa Cruz it is for her. Do remember to take your malaria pills.

She plans to go to Uruguay for some reason. Not quite sure why. Heard a lot, seen nothing! that's a good reason!

She comes back in end of September.

We have been planning this since January and I am hopeful things will go as per the plans! If not, then we would love to get lost in this journey...


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Why are people like Arnab Goswami dangerous for India?

In a democracy, everyone should have a voice and an opinion. Everyone should have the opportunity to get their message across, right or wrong it doesn’t matter; the message should go across in the peacefully & accurately. Historically, we have seen that in dictatorial and totalitarian governments the voice of the people is supressed. Races and religions are wiped away! But if someone wants to give their opinions on the TV what could go wrong? The opinion is presented within the four walls of a studio and everyone should feel safe when presenting their opinion. Well, everything that could go wrong will go wrong, if we go to a discussion without an open mind and the moderator of the discussion / debate has pre-set agenda!

Arnab Goswami is a well-known news anchor on Times Now, who doesn’t let any debate happen. He has one job and only one job, to moderate a healthy debate between two people with different ideologies. How difficult can that be? It can be difficult if you don’t consider the debate between two ideologies but consider it as a forum to improve the ratings of a television show.

Arnab Goswami is a prime example of how one can become a poor journalist. Get a prime time slot, with a masala filled topic & 8 panellists who no one has heard off but are as ill-mannered as Arnab Goswami himself. 8 freaking panellists? Why? One sits in the chair with 8 cameras zooming on these panellists; but the debate moderator speaks for 50% of the time. Arnab, you are indeed shameless! If you are lucky you might get the opportunity after a “India wants to know. Tell me. Tell me. Nation wants to know….” blabbering. Arnab, if you have given someone an opportunity to speak, please let him speak, just shut the eff up!

Arnab, what is the point of such a debate? If it is to get more advertisements on TV, then go sell soap and detergent, at least you will be honest to your profession. I haven’t seen Arnab out in the field meeting the widows of Kashmiris violence, understanding the issues of flood affected victims of Chennai, highlighting the predicament of families of farmers who have committed suicide in Maharashtra & Andhra Pradesh.

Arnab Goswami, why do you shout so much? Is it because you have poor vocabulary and need to raise your voice to put your message across? Or is it because you are scared to get into a debate? My opinion is that one doesn’t need to shout to put a message across; a prime example of such a man is Mahatma Gandhi! In a land which has built its recent history on non-violence and truth, one could become a prime example of that at prime time. Shouting at someone and asking him not to speak, will kill the human spirit. Killing the human spirit is worse than killing that human! If everyone can’t put their voice / viewpoints / agenda across, this land of yogis, beauties & billion gods will become a dull, boring, colourless country. This land has produced big religions and sects, Siddharth became enlightened and gave the world Buddhism because he was not shouted at but was allowed to think, speak out and get enlightened. In a country where Shias, Sunnia, Wahabis, Syrian, Parsi Muslims have lived cordially and amicably for centuries will lose the humanness in them and act like brainless humans!

Do not put words into the mouth of the panellists. You have two ears and one mouth; use it in the same proportion, it would be a good start. I don’t want to look at you on TV and say in disgust : “Is this what India watches????!!!”, I want to listen to you moderating a debate in a more civil and cordial way, so that the Indian values of tolerance, love and respect of each other are highlighted through your debate! If it was a shouting match you would win, but unfortunately it isn’t!

Don’t kill the human spirit Arnab, you have an opportunity to enlighten the world’s largest democracy! Go light the bulb, don’t switch it off!


Monday, March 30, 2015

So whats next?

So we now know that a country that used to be the land of opportunities and used to welcome people from all across the globe has just taken a u-turn and gone back to the dark ages. 

In the state of Indiana its now a law where a business can decide to not serve anyone based on their sexual orientation.

I also see that in future these laws are possible:
  1. Indiana law allows business to not serve people who wear white shirts
  2. Indiana law allows business to not serve people who have a different skin tone
  3. Indiana law allows business to not serve people who do not wear turbans
  4. Indiana law allows business to not serve people who happen to not have an smartphone
The question is how do such laws come into affect? My answer is - it all comes down to 1 mad person and the amount of money he/she controls.

Think of this as a story: 
  1. There is this guy who happens to be a vegan. 
  2. He owns about 17 steel plants and other manufacturing units across the globe; happens to be a multi-billionaire 
  3. He also happens to be friends with few politicians and invites them to his house for lunch 
  4. Over a vegan lunch he explains the politicians why its important that everyone should have vegan food or else it will be difficult for him to fund the party's state and national elections campaign 
  5. He also recommends that the laws must be changed - the non-vegans must not be allowed to open their lunches at the universities & other public places; or else election funding, etc 
  6. The politicians get scared and introduce a law - which is pro vegan because the smell of bacon or roasted chicken hurts the sentiments of the vegan people
So whats next? 
  1. A rich man who happens to wear only black shirts calls the same politician!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 was indeed a special year

1. Sports
a. There was no sports world cup of any sorts – Ok Rugby League isn’t really rugby 
b. People came out and said – I am sorry I took drugs and yes I killed my girlfriend. 
c. England proved that they can change from a great team to an unbelievably crappy team in 11 weeks; and gift the Ashes back to Australia. 
d. England have qualified for the football world cup next year and although we don’t have any world class players some critics predict England to go all the way. 

2. Russian politics
a. Let’s look at how they solved the Syrian crisis. When US were about the bomb the Syrians the Russians asked the question – “so what’s the problem here? Hmm chemical weapons? Ok Syria will destroy all of them; it’s alright then?” That happened and there was no attack from USA on Syria. As if the Syrian civilians were not suffering before.  
b. Pussy Riot – group members released. 
c. Green peace – cases dropped. 
d. What’s next? Corruption cases against the Russian mafia?

3. US politics
a. On the other hand the big brother couldn’t get their government functioning for few weeks. Don’t know if the Members of the Congress got their salary for those days. I think that is like legal corruption - “I am not going to work but you still need to pay me!”
b. What’s happening with the free healthcare? 
c. The president thinks taking selfies more important than giving respect to one of the greatest men to live on this planet. I have lost respect for Obama! 

4. Movies
a. Manoj Knight Shamlan hasn’t made a decent film since Sixth Sense. 
b. Kickass 2 was a children’s film which had so much violence that I found Arnold’s films like cute kitten videos. 
c. Matt Damon is a socialist and has an IQ of 170! 


Monday, October 28, 2013

How to plan a good holiday...

1. While starting to plan do make sure what you want to do on the holiday. 
  • Is it a honeymoon, city break, lazy holiday or business and pleasure holiday
2. While paying and deciding how you want to spend your money, do ask the travel agent or check the website where you have booked if 
  • It is an all inclusive holiday or breakfast only holiday.
  • Do the resort / hotel provide pick up and drop to the airport?
  • Does the resort have activities going on? Are they free or you have to pay for them?
  • There is no shame in asking what's complimentary? We went to a holiday where a bottle of wine was complimentary with dinner.
3. Do plan on where you want to go in advance
  • If you are going on a beach holiday then it would be nice to know how to swim
  • If it's a skiing holiday then learn skiing before you hit the slopes
  • Planning in advance allows you to sort out any visas you need to worry about
4. Packing
  • I believe that take enough clothes, but don't take 10 sets of clothes for a 5 day holiday
5. What kind of clothes should one take on a holiday? It depends: 
  • Cottons for the hot weather
  • Warm Jackets & woolens for the cold
  • Always keep an extra pair of socks & undies
  • Always good to have a nice shirt for dinner in the suitcase.  you never know the hotel might request its guests to not wear t-shirts at the dinner table
  • If going to the Caribbean do not take army shirts or jackets, its illegal to wear them outside. 

6. Last minute checks
  • Passport
  • Not the expired passport but the valid passport
  • Visa
  • Yellow fever vaccination card if travelling   to south America or Africa
  • Currencies & monies
  • Keys, books
  • Phone chargers, iPad chargers
  • Converter plugs
7. Things to buy from the airport
  • While coming back, buy souvenirs for friends and family.
  • Chocolates while coming back
  • I try and buy some gum at the airport when going out, because I have a tendency to get my ears blocked during take off. Wife has that problem too.
8. To tip or not to tip
  • They tip a lot in America but not much in Europe.
  • So tip in America. They tip the taxi drivers too.
  • If in Europe, the normal tip in a nice restaurant is around 10%. Some restaurants add 12.5% as service charge if there are more than 5 in the party.
  • Always check the bill, have they added service charge or not.
I may have missed so many other things. Please do add them on the comments section :-) 


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

10 places

10 places I have visited and would like to visit again

  1. Dubrovnik
  2. St Lucia
  3. Grenadines & St Vincent
  4. Lake Nakuru National park - Kenya
  5. Golden Temple Amritsar
  6. The Scottish highlands
  7. Leh, Pegang Tso, Tanglang La - Ladakh
  8. Calangute - Goa
  9. Konark Temple - Orissa
  10. Tirupati - to see the sheer madness (or belief) of millions of Indians in 1 god!

10 places I have visited & would never like to visit again

  1. Mt Abu - It is over hyped and was a not cold. If I had to go to the mountains I would go to the Himalayas why go to Mt Abu?  
  2. Jaipur - Didn't like the weather. It was very dry, so dry that my nose started bleeding! 
  3. Delhi - Just too loud I must say. 
  4. Brugge, Belgium - Was too boring. Might go there once I am 70! 
  5. Mysore - was over hyped and boring! Was quite little when I went there and even then I got bored. 
  6. Dubai & Abu Dhabi - Would never visit that place ever. The Arabs are racist and treat South Asians as slaves. 
  7. Glasgow - Well may be because we visited Glasgow after sending efw days in Edinburgh that I really really didn't like it. Then I have heard its the murder capital of Europe etc etc. Would stay away from Glasgow and would visit only if it is very very necessary! 
  8. Tuljapur - I have my reasons! 
  9. The London Underground during peak hours. 
  10. The London Underground during non peak hours. 

10 places I haven't visited and would like to visit on my next trip

  1. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  2. Machu Pichu, Peru
  3. Kruger national park, South Africa
  4. Rio Di Janeiro, for the Olympics of 2016
  5. The backwaters of Kerala
  6. Drive on Route 66 ( or drive from the east to the west coast of USA)
  7. Drive from the south to the north of California
  8. Bali -  I was born on the beach
  9. Angkor Wat - it's the largest Hindu temple on the planet & would like to see, how / when did the stories Ram & Raavan reach East Asia
  10. Galapagos - because we all know that, that's where Darwin had his eureka moment


Monday, December 24, 2012

The Right to Expression in India

Before I write about what the people of India are going through at this moment, let us first go through what is there in the constitution of India on our fundamental rights. 

This is picked straight from Wikipedia and the six fundamental rights recognised by the constitution are:

  1. Right to equality, including equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment, abolition of untouchability and abolition of titles.
  2. Right to freedom which includes speech and expression, assembly, association or union or cooperatives, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation (some of these rights are subject to security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality), right to life and liberty, right to education, protection in respect to conviction in offences and protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.
  3. Right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labour, child labour and traffic in human beings;
  4. Right to freedom of religion, including freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion, freedom to manage religious affairs, freedom from certain taxes and freedom from religious instructions in certain educational institutes.
  5. Cultural and Educational rights preserving Right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  6. Right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights. Fundamental rights for Indians have also been aimed at overturning the inequalities of pre-independence social practices. Specifically, they have also been used to abolish untouchability and hence prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. They also forbid trafficking of human beings and forced labour. They also protect cultural and educational rights of ethnic and religious minorities by allowing them to preserve their languages and also establish and administer their own education institutions.

The constitution says that every Indian has the right to express their feelings, in a peaceful way and have the right to assemble. Is this being allowed to happen in free India? I do not think so. 

Firstly in the capital city of India the women are not safe, and when the citizens go out and demand protection, those who should protect them become wolves. The police should be protecting the citizens and not become puppets of the ministers. 

I saw on TV today that the citizens of Delhi were being beaten with sticks, were fired at with tear gas and greeted with water cannons. Is this what the freedom we dreamt of? What kind of independence did we get then? 

After 65 years of independence the government's ministers have become richer & richer and the natural resources of the country have become the right of every minister but the common man. How is this different to what happened under the British East India Company or the British Raj? 

The government today is autocratic and allows you do only what it wants to see; it is not fair in any aspect. The people of India are now confident, educated and the middle class is growing. A confident and educated nation is very difficult to govern and the government should understand this. If 10% of middle class in India come out on the streets the government will then suffer, and suffer it must for they have brought this upon themselves. 

Corruption has crossed all boundaries. From fodder to 3G technology there isn't a single sector where a minister hasn't dug his teeth to suck money which belongs to the common man. The Fodder Scam guy became the Railway minister & the 2G-3G scam guy was in Jail for few months and then back dancing to "Apdi Podu!" The government is shameless and has taken everyone for a ride. 

The minister's have build bungalows bigger than the Lords and Viceroys of British Empire, have cars and gun men protecting them as if they are kings of their area. Where as people do not have land to plough in their constituency and sleep on footpaths. I would spit on the ministers everyday if I could. 

What are the next steps for a brighter India? Firstly the government needs to have a dialogue with the people's representatives right now, not tomorrow but right now. They must pull up their socks, need to implement new laws so that India is a safer, educated, healthier and transparent nation. The new laws which I can think of are: 
  1. New Police Law - Change the way police works in India - they are there to protect and not rule.
  2. New Safety Law - Safety of the people when we step out of our homes - when on the road and off the road. 
  3. New Women's safety - Please do something about these rape cases. 
  4. New Education Law - build a school in every village build 5 when the village is big
  5. New Law so that the citizens have good Sanitation and Clean water everyday - it should not take 65 years to solve the water problem in a country like India. we are called the land of rivers for god-sake; use your head! 
  6. Law which gives electricity to every home  - Why does it take half a decade to build Nuclear power plants after a law has been passed? 
  7. Every administrator must be accountable to the people of India - No one, mister or administrator, is bigger than the common man. 
  8. any other??? 
Another request I have is to the media (TV, Print and Internet) in India. When such a high profile issue is going on in the country can we give cricket a second thought please. A rape happens and the issue comes on TV, then the next day if we have a cricket match; why does cricket take precedence? Isn't it common sense to have a talk about the bigger issue here? So dear media, the issues which concern the common man and can change the country should come first! 

Hope that the government will serve the people first and their wallets later!  


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