Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We, the people......

S M Krishna has been cleared by her royal highness Sonia Gandhi, to return to Karnataka politics.

Gasp! Do you mean to say that Krishna will now sacrifice himself for the greater good of us poor Kannadigas(Kannadigas?In Karnataka? where? how many?) and get back the Chief Minister's chair? Will he come back again to ruin Bangalore some more? Or will Double-cross Deve Gowda (as he is now affectionately called) ruin the apple cart? He is after all the Mannina maga!! Will Desperate Yeddy get the CM gaddi? eh?

I have often wondered who these so called "people" are, that the politicians claim to serve. "The people have spoken!" thunders Narendra Modi in Gujarat. 'The people will speak', whines poor Yedurappa in Karnataka. 'The people, who we, have so loyally served' will vote us back to power claims S M Krishna.

Who are these people? Is it you? is it me? or is it our neighbour Geethamma?

My barometer for political conciousness is our very own Gowri. The help at my mother's house. She has been with us for the past 18-19 years and is a veteran in battling life and its varied problems. Personal, social, name it, she has fought it. She only knows that, come elections, she will get a couple of blankets and maybe this time a colour TV set. She doesnt even know who will give her these gifts. But some one surely will, is the only sure thing in this game.

Pity, she does not know the name of a single politician..........yet, it is she and her ilk, who decides our collective fates.

When Benazir Bhutto triumphantly lost her life to an assasin's bullets (or was it a bomb?...oh doesn't matter to Mushy baby ....shouldn't matter to us) in neighbouring Pakistan, everybody suddenly rose to make her sound like a martyr. 'There will always be a Bhutto in Pakistan,' she had thundered from her safe haven in Dubai & later England. Why? Who asked for it? Did you?.......uh uh....not me......the poor people of Pakistan, oops sorry the PPP has been left orphaned..........but don't worry, that worthy heir, Bilawal will come back and save you poor souls, if that is, you Poor Pakis, can stop him from scampering back to Oxford with his gun toting, millions of pounds costing security men.........!!!!

Who needs a Bhutto or a Gandhi? Why make insatiable greed sound like great sacrifice? What exactly have they saved Pakistan or India from? Nothing seems to have changed. Their egos, personal coffers and media attention probably got bigger I suppose. Other than that, I see no improvement.

If at all, India has shown any progress in the recent past, it is probably inspite of the great Gandhis. Not because of the Gandhis. The poor Paki's can't even claim this small miniscule development.

Sigh! Politics! So simple, yet so complex.

Coming back to our very own Gowdas, Vokkaligas and Lingayats and their personal fiefdoms. Who will spearhead the utter ruin of Bangalore? Who will bleed the coffers dry? Who will ensure more mindless sanctions of software companies and industrial townships in the only city worthy of mention in Karnataka...good ol' Bangalore? Not to mention flyovers, grade seperators, helicopter bays.........????

Questions! Questions! Questions!

Why am I looking forward to the elections? Or for that matter, a new CM or government?

Firstly, a great deal of entertainment for free.... as our politicians fight over party seats, cabinet berths, power sharing etc etc etc. Juicy fights, betrayals, back stabbing.........these guys can put Hollywood and their striking writers shame!!! bah! (Not to mention Ekta Kapoor and her ghastly serials)I can also save money by not going to the movies. Why pay for entertainment when I can watch a news channel at home? for half the cost? eh?

Knowledge of all great numerologists, vaastu experts and astrologers - as each politician worth his salt, consults these godmen about name changes, dates for swearing in and such other important matters. These godmen can lead you to nirvana. What more can one ask for in this life? Spiritual upliftment and ultimately NIRVANA!!!

I love travelling and as these netas head out to all the temples and dargahs, chruches (they are secular netas after all arent they?) to conduct poojas, vratas, homas etc etc for their heroic victories in these election battles, I get to know of places that I have never heard of!!

My husband is in the automobile components manufacturing business. The netas will immediately order the latest cars for their convoys and escorts. Hundreds of cars - cost no bar(after all taxpayers money right?). More cars sold. More need for automobile components. My hubby's business grows.....ah! the good life! My son's future is secure!

Damn it! She was right! Begum Bhutto was right! We need the Ghandhis, Bhuttos and the Kennedys. And the Gowdas!

We, the people......don't know a good thing when we see it !!! Tsk!...tsk!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

All things foreign!

It is accepted that we Indians lack civic sense, have absolutely no road manners, atrocious and belligerent driving skills or the lack of it, pollution, over crowding, chaos, nothing working.......ok....ok.......yes! yes! ....we all know our pitfalls and faults. And at the bottom of this pile lies our stadiums and sports facilities. What facilities? Do we have a stadium anywhere in India worth mentioning? You may well ask!

"Things are so well organised" says the aunty who has gone on innumerable "foreign jaunts". "So civilised" says the cousin from those hallowed foreign shores.

After every cricket match, one hears of the lack of public toilets, infrastructure, poor management of the crowds and everything else that can be criticised.

So now, let me enlighten you about how a sporting event is conducted in those hallowed "foreign lands".

We had the privilege of attending a Formula 1 grand prix race in Monza, Italy. Now Formula 1 is the richest sport in the world earning billions of dollars from sponserships, television rights, merchandise and not to mention cash paying spectators.

We were all excited and logged onto the Formula 1 website to book our race tickets. Goody goody goody! All straightforward so far, we chose the seats we wanted, had a mild heart attack at the cost of each ticket - (converted into Indian rupees it practically felt like daylight robbery). We had been warned that the Italians were thugs of the first water, after all they were the originators of the Mafia weren't they? So we craftily asked my brother in law in Germany to make the payment in Euros and that we would repay him in rupees here in India. Who knows what tricks the Italians may get upto with our Indian credit card! The tickets would be delivered by courier to him in Germany.

2 months down the line and we still hadn't heard about a thing. We assumed that they would do their own thing and didn't pursue the matter much. Sure enough, the tickets were sent to Germany at the end of the third month. But how long did it take? 3 long months! But ssshhh........they have a method. Foreign after all! remember?

So now, we started our preparations in earnest for our travel. Got our airline and hotels booked and visas were obtained. We again refered to the Monza race website and tried to get details on how to reach the autodrome from downtown Milan, where we were based. They had various options of transport - trains, buses and of course cars.

We assumed that things would work like clock work, after all we were going to a "foreign event", weren't we?

Imagine our plight in Monza. Nobody spoke English for starters - fair enough - we have travelled enough in Europe to understand that they are very fanatical about language and will speak their native tongue no matter where and how.

No information anywhere about those blasted trains that should get you to the autodrome . We luckily stumbled across some Finnish fans (Supporting Raikonnen who is from Finland) racing towards a train in Milan Centrale. We ran with them and hopped on to that train. It could have gone to Paris for all we knew.

Once we reached the autodrome, nobody told us there was a 5 kms (yes! 5 kms from the train station) to reach our stands!!!! No information was given anywhere about that! You can imagine the plight of 2 overweight, out of shape individuals faced with the prospect of a 5km trek in the hot Italian sun!!! good lord!

None of the stewards knew where our stand was or how far it was. Again no one spoke English. They just stood around stylishly (the famous Italian style my friends) and talked on their cell phones. We panted and wheezed our way to the stands after almost an hour and a half of trekking.

Those seats were just concrete steps on which we all just plonked ourselves on. The toilets were miles away. But we did get to see the race and enjoy it.

Now we had to start the 5 km trek back all over again to get to the train station (we learnt that there were no buses to this event - which means the info on the official website was a lie!!!).

Toilets were now all completely dirty. Almost the whole crowd was now drunk. Rubbish cans overflowing with beer cans and food packets. Drunk people using trees to answer the call of nature.

Yes my friends! peeing on the road! And after an endless walk, we were all crammed into trains for our journey back to Milan ala Mumbai ishtyle!

Who said such things happened only in India! And what made it all so funny? We paid 310 Euros per ticket!!!!!

Now when somebody mentions all those ills in a stadium - I can only smirk and think of Monza!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Britney Spears!!!

I decided to enter the world of blogging just to see what the hoopla is all about! Pretty neat I must say. Find a name, enter a couple of passwords here and there and voila! you are a legitimate blogger!

My friend wanted to know why I chose a screen name that says "manish's mom".

Now that I am a stay at home mom, with all my time taken up by a pesky 22 month old angel, how else would I be able to describe myself? before all those feminists go ballistic about my identity crisis, lemme explain......I had a low powered, (read low paid) computer crunching job at IBM. I deputed ill-mannered, uncouth and greedy software engineers all over the world on projects that saved IBM millions of dollars by deputing these thugs as software engineers. I chucked this delightful job to have my baby and then stayed at home to ensure that this "bundle of joy" was cared for and pampered by a "stay at home mommy".

The bundle of joy needed to be fed once in 2 hours for the first 6 months of its life, cajoled and rocked to sleep, diapers needed to be changed almost hourly, not to mention all those burps, spittings, change of clothes & bathing to be started all over again each day. This left the new mommy with almost no time on her hands and left her cooped up in a room for days on end with only a small bundle of human flesh for company.

So now, 22 months hence with all those months of experience in Manish rearing behind me, I felt that "manish's mom" best described me..................hehehe.................right! thats behind us now....the naming I mean.........

During those divine periods of time when Manish slept, I felt the need for some mindless entertainment and decided to scroll through the gossip rag "People Magazine" website for my daily quota of Hollywood gossip. We are bombarded by "Bollywood" gossip by every self respecting Indian Channel and news channels - with some flashing "Ash-Abhi Holidaying in Jaipur" as BREAKING NEWS!!!! So I dutifully added the People magazine website to my favourites list and religiously cocked an eye at it everyday

Britney Spears is their favourite daughter. Every single thing she does, all those mind numbing nature calls at public washrooms, those late night shopping sprees and the innumerable run ins with the "paparazzi" are well documented, archived and mulled upon with great enthusiasm.

Should one ever experience the sudden urge to know what Britney Spears is doing at this moment, simply log onto People magazine.

How does a 25 year old woman with 2 young adorable children, loads and loads of money, fame, good looks and charm lose it all to become a public joke and circus? What is it that drives this poor publicity seeking whacko to stoop to such levels? Is it that stressful being rich, being waited upon hand and foot, not to mention having all those lunches and dinners in fancy restaurants and shopping almost nonstop everyday? gasp! surely ye jest!

If all this can cause a meltdown in poor li'l Britney, how should all those women in Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine behave? Their homes are bombed, children and families killed, they are beaten and ill treated by their husbands, trudge miles and miles to fetch drinking water, collect firewood to cook their meals and have never heard of economic independence. Yet, you will find millions of these women carrying on their lives with dignity, grace and enormous courage. They don't go around behaving like Britney.........having meltdowns and being carted off to the looney bin in an ambulance.

Surely their lives are harder to bear than this failed pop star and her so called problems!