No News is Good News – Episode 1

5 02 2010

I feel myself inspired by TheOnion.com – an amazing source of alternative news that never happened. However, where the guys in The Onion towers imagine, I would use more authentic news sources and add masala to it. After all, the is only thing stranger than fiction is truth told with liberal dose of mirch masala.  So let me begin.

Barack Obama crawled out of the rock he had been hiding under for all these years and called for a stop to outsourcing of jobs. Earlier this week Obama had confidential (closed door) meetings with representatives of Shiv Sena and Maharastra Navnirman Sena to draw up a comprehensive economic policy tentatively named Bold Ideas of Government On Trade (BIGOT).

While promoting his new policy direction Obama said: Fair and Open Trade Policies are the biggest reason of an average American’s suffering. These (Fair and Open Trade) policies should be discontinued worldwide with immediate effect. America has only ever recognized and supported the validity of Free Trade Zones for American Goods and we are committed to creating new Free Trade Zones around the world in keeping with the model that has proven so successful in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As an immediate retaliation for trying to take away jobs from other countries, Indonesia announced that it is undecided about what to do with “Little Barry” of the Menteng Park installed less than a month back.  The sources close to the government say that the Little Obama statue was not supposed to be a permanent fixture. Supposedly, the statue had been commissioned in wax , a la Tussaud’s, and the authorities were surprised when the statue turned out decked in Bronze.

The Chief of Parks in Indonesia said We thought of installing a wax statue that would melt over the course of 4 years of Obama’s presidency and we would have replaced it with the wax statue of the next president. We also asked for the statue to melt in keeping with the popularity of the current president.

The “Little Barry” is now all set to be torn down and the site is to be left as it is till the Indonesian authorities decide on the next crazy plan for it. The Chief also let in rather sheepishly that he thought he too was the candidate for Nobel prize, after all he had achieved much more in the last three months than Obama had done in the whole year. In his wordsLook around you, I made a park out of crap (he meant manure) and look at Obama he made crap out of an economy. Though he still maintained that his vying for Nobel prize had nothing to do with statue’s uncertain future.

Closer to home, on being asked when is Air India (AI) expected to record a turnaround, India’s Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee made an uncharacteristically candid remark claiming  AI, cannot be expected to turnaround as much as it can be expected to be turned over and go tits up. I would be meeting Party High Command and we would do whatever Madam Sonia deems fit.On being pushed for further information he was forced to retort – Inka to kuchh ho nahi sakta, ab mera time barbaad mat karo.

But AI’s cup of misery is not being considered as a bad news by everyone. The Communist Party of India, CPI (M), is spending time salivating and monitoring the situation. According to one high ranking undisclosed party worker, CPI (M) is hoping that government announces job cuts at AI, so that the already unemployed CPI (M) army of workers could have some issue for “naarebaazi” and call for general strikes in West Bengal and Kerala.

Still smarting from the Nandigram episode and serious whooping handed over to it by Mamta Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, the CPI (M) remains hopeful of this issue escalating. According to the same party worker We would declare a country wide bandh for 3 days in support of AI workers union, if other states do it – bhaalo, otherwise West Bengal and Kerala stay closed for 7 Days.

In Sports, after comprehensively beating Roger Federer, Andy Murray chose to stay humble and shared the honours with Federer. Murray said I can cry like Roger, it’s just a shame I can’t play like him.”, this after Murray had comfortably outdone Federer’s attempt in unforced tears and expression faults. After losing the title of crybaby and being talked down upon, an obviously angered Federer threw down the challenge with a simple and classy “See you at Wimbledon, you chickensh*t.

Moving on to glamour world, Lindsay Lohan is willing to take off her clothes for fame. Word coming out is that, Hugh Hefner is said to be interested in the offer, but is unlikely to sign the singer-turned-actor due to concerns over her acting skills and he says “…besides there is no Oscar in our industry, baby.” An Indian Production House is also interested in casting Ms. Lohan opposite the acting sensation Emran Hashmi; however doubt remains to their commitment in lieu of the actress demanding unreasonable pay. When asked Ms. Lohan confirmed that the talks were ongoing for a role in a Bollywood movie, and any claim of her asking exorbitant money or a script worthy of Oscars is baseless.

She wrapped up the interview by claiming succinctly off the record – All the talk of grand money and grand script is *a bovine animal’s excremental product*. They can pay me in kind. I will work for booze!” .

Remember genius, being off the record does not stop it from getting published because “Who ******* cares?”.

So that’s it for the first version of “No News is Good News”. Hope you enjoyed.





IPL Season 2 – Season of Advertising Blunders

8 05 2009

IPL Season 1 was launched with some élan and supported with some really slick advertising to whip up incredible fervor and passion.

Cricket ka Karmayudha

 

The “Cricket ka Karmayudha” video of the IPL Season 1 was not only superbly done, but it had equally amazing lyrics and passionate narration to make you really look forward to watching the game.

SET MAX Promos

In comparison, it was replaced by the largely Sony sponsored “Aapne 100 crore logon ko ek saath kuchh karte dekha hai?” promo. It was largely an advert promoting a TV channel rather than the event itself. And it did nothing at all to garner attention.

Though admittedly the “Insaano ne banai Sarhade” was much better and funnier but it never caught my attention.

 

Add to that the whole event being shifted out from India, the spectators have fallen and the IPL 2 comes across as some sort of an afterthought that you tune into once you are back home from work.

Not only the advertising for the main draw, that is the main IPL event has been boring and dull. The teams too have taken a step back.

I mean what would you call the Chennai Super Kings advertisement. Only God knows what on the earth were these advertising guys thinking.Its hideous, absolutely loathsome and if it was meant to generate following for the ekdum fit – Yellow Jersey, give me a break. Mind you the worst is reserved for the grand finale of the video – see Dhoni opening his mouth wide and converting into a lion. Someone, Shoot Me!

Even Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians who had great promotional videos last time around have run their campaign to dust with some lousy videos even lousier lyrics.

Compare the almost call to arms video of Deccan Chargers from IPL Season 1 to the absolutely daisy IPL Season 2 promotional video.

I really hope that IPL Season 3, our senses are not again pulverised by a string of daisy videos like this year. Specially, since these promotions seemingly span almost all the channels and are always at you.





Make me a useful President! and other stories…

10 03 2009

I wonder what went through his mind, when General Musharraf laid out his “useful contribution – useless president” appeal to the media. I have not seen his video but reading his comments I would be surprised if the general was not smoking the best quality weed freshly imported from Afghanistan.

The comments betray a certain degree of anguish for the great travesty of justice that he had to endure, when he was asked not so politely with all concerned to step down and reinstate democracy or face consequences of the junta uprising. But the comments also betray not a small amount of ridiculousness and senility.

That his assertions and aspirations are in such contrast to his actual position of non-existence in public imagination, paints a man who is intoxicated by power. And power only ever breeds greed for more power.

Not only that Musharraf does not realise that his moment is now past, the point is lost to Musharraf that he is the one who is responsible to take over a country from corrupt but still functional political system and deliver it to the door marked failed state. Pakistan was no paradise under Nawaz Shareef but at least it was a working system. A system no doubt under pressure of a stagnant economy, dependent on aids and subsidised imports, but still essentially supporting a country and making sure it stood on its own two feet.

Musharraf changed it all and you have to look at Pakistan to see how things can go so horribly wrong in a short span of 8 – 9 years. Pakistan not unlike India, have mostly non-qualified men with limited vision as the leaders of their union. However, despite the plurality of the Indian government, we have at least always had a true statesman as Prime Minister who have endeavoured to do justice to his / her designation.

Manmohan Singh – the professor with impeccable track record.
Vajpayee – the quintessential administrator and an orator par excellence.

Even when BJP and Congress were not in power, we had people like IK Gujral, who if anything was at least diplomat with an absolute clean billing. PV Narsimha Rao, despite of all his tainted image, can take part of the praise for putting the wheels in motion for the Indian Economic revolution. Only person in recent past that did not impress would have to be HD Devegowda, and he wasn’t allowed too long on the job, was he?

Now compare this with the Pakistani current crop of leaders.

Asif Zardari – a backdoor powerbroker who wants to be seen as a patriarchal messiah who can deliver prosperity to Pakistan. Only one problem, he ain’t no Caeser. In fact, he is more like Nero playing fiddle as Rome burns. And nothing more could have been expected from someone who till death of his wife was a truly marginal figure only to be thrust to national prominence, and sure as hell it wasn’t by design. Zardari continues playing political games to cement his hold, but he would do well to remember that the tighter he tries to grip the Presidential seat, the closer he comes to face the same fate that his father-in-law faced when General Zia took over.

Zardari can be proud of the fact that in less than 12 months of his rule he has created the most perfect conditions for Kayani to take his (apparently) rightful place on the throne of Pakistan. Musharraf rule had eroded much of that mythic credibility of the army rule and it was impossible to imagine another Army takeover any time soon. I am sure the sorcerer Zardari believes in that daisy saying “Impossible says I’m possible!”. Look he made the unimaginable materialize. Huh! But then what else could you expect from a dubious middleman, with all the experience of a broker stringing together those dirty deals?

Nawaz Shareef – a pompous self-appointed leading light of Pakistan, with a piss poor track record of ineffective leadership to boot. He is far from a statesman you would want representing your country. This is the same guy who was shopping abroad as Kargil was underway. Sharif has built a substantial empire from his time as the head of state and he is back for more, waiting in the wings for his opportunity to lay his hands on the official pie.

Musharraf himself is no angel.

All of them when given / taken power have had a single point agenda of centralising power so that they may extend their dictatorial reigns. In Pakistan, even the democratically elected government is no different from a Musharraf or Zia ul Haq. It comes as little surprise then that Pakistan is a country where the powers that may be, are hell bent about manually overriding the ignition fuse to hasten the implosion, just to see if the bang would make a more genial environment for them to rule.

Back to the General, he said and I quote:

“If I am offered the post of President and if I can be a useful President…then I will want to contribute to this country,” Musharraf said.

Addressing a news conference here on his return from a four-day visit to India, Musharraf however made it clear that he did not “want to be a useless President“.

Its funny if you read these statements. What could he possibly mean by a useful President and useless president? I mean to me it sounds that there are others responsible for making him useful or useless. A man who ruled with unlimited power and with scant regard to not only letter of the law but also to the citizens of his country, now apparently wants or expects to suddenly be made a useful president! And who would make him a useful president? Does he want the local and world media to describe him as the saviour of all things pure and good? It would be good to get a definition and a lesson on usefulness from a man who ran his country to the ground and given another chance would erase it from the name of World Map. And while he achieves all this he would also find enough time to train his envied gaze east and scheme how to export some of his baggage of woes to India.

One thing I am sure of though is Kayani wouldn’t be too impressed by Musharraf. Musharraf would have already been asked by the brass to enjoy his retirement, else they would be happy to send him help for his transition to the afterlife.

“I am not joining any political party. In the current environment, I have no intention of joining politics. Frankly, I haven’t given any serious thought to joining politics,” he said in response to another question.

I bet he wouldn’t. It would come as a surprise if his sorry self has done enough to get his better-half’s vote.

Musharraf also said the people of Pakistan should support the Army and the ISI and strengthen them.

Haha! We have this saying in Hindi “Bandar kitna bhi booddha kyon na ho jaye, gulaati maarna nahi bhoolta” (regardless of his age, a monkey can never forget the fine art of gymnastics). Mr. Musharraf, that wasn’t too surprising now, was it?

Half of Pakistan’s problems have ever stemmed out from that hugely disproportionate defense services that you maintain. ISI is the single biggest reason why you are in the crappy state of affairs you are in. Defense spending is single biggest reason for your economy being unattractive and stagnating, which in turn makes the whole environment non-business conducive. Its good to be proud of your defense services, but Pakistan army has really taken a whole nation for a ride and they need their support to continue fleecing them. The thought must be very ingratiating I must say.

Swindled by polity for personal gains, deceived by the Army for self-serving agendas, pounded by an apparent friendly ally, eaten out from within by extremists who have long since erased that huge line that separated friends from foe, I just wonder where is the solution for all of this misery?

Its becoming a clichéd line – “an unstable Pakistan means a very real and dangerous problem for India”, but if ever it was more true. I really hope there is a way back from the brink for Pakistan.





The Raj Conundrum

23 10 2008

The Raj Thackeray’s episode has been rankling for the last few months now. The governments, both central and state, are doing precious little to address the fissures Raj is so hell bent upon on creating. The decisiveness of those who matter is again conspicuous only by its absence.

Mumbai, a truly cosmopolitan city and the melting pot of India, is under threat of becoming a regional bastion because of one man’s tryst with power. The common Marathi Manoos is safe and forward looking. Of all the people I have met of all the regions, Marathis are probably the most progressive of the Indian lot. They are intelligent, they toil hard, and they receive just rewards. Then how so suddenly are they in such a grave danger, that a taxi driver from a remote Bihar village can tear their collective lives apart.

This unsavoury and unethical game of whipping up the regional sentiment for one’s personal gain, without regard of the effect it may have on the integrity of the whole nation. Maharashtra has always been a very important part of the India. This polarizing of communities is not going to help anyone but provide Raj Thackeray his temporary political gains.

Besides, the violent nature of the party workers is a clear indication of what is going to be the mode of implementation of the party manifesto. You tow OUR party line or you suffer. Its not suprising in itself then that the first casualty of the violent elements of MNS was not an out of state Bihari or a UPite or Orriya or Jharkhandi but a hardworking Marathi citizen – Ambadas Haribhau Dharrao.

On the flip side, the polarizing effect in other parts can also be witnessed. The indications coming out of Jharkhand and how they are now ready to target Marathis, is clear indications that things have come to a head. Even though Marathis had nothing to do with it.

Even as day before Raj Thackeray was put behind the bars, his goons wreaked havoc on Mumbai and non-Marathis. And the subsequent bail today just points to the laxity of our system in curtailing influence of people who openly promote sectarian violence.

Are we seeing a Bhindranwala all over again and aren’t we again turning a blind eye, hoping that the situation would somehow resolve itself. It will not and if government does not start taking absolute decisive action against people or organization who think they can hold the society at ransom by violence, we are going to see a whole new Punjab and repercussions of this would be felt across the country.

Lets not confuse the issues. Raj Thackeray is not a visionary; if anything he just has the next elections in his sights and a vision to overturn Shiv Sena and his cousin Uddhav Thackeray.  He does not even fall in the category of “one man’s terrorist, another man’s revolutionary”. He should be held accountable for any deaths resulting from his “rule of the sword” politics and inducing violence.

In the age, where India is already dealing with region and religion based terrorism across the country, we do not need the most important state in India to become embroiled in regional violence.





Winter of Cricket Madness

28 02 2008

Anybody who has been following the Indian tour of Aussies, must be wide eyed. Wow! What a series!

Shed your sensitivities and how Indians have been offended – this has been a perfect series. Its got drama, emotions, fast bowlers back in fashion, low score, villainous umpires, Goliath vs. Goliath, great upset. Why the hell are we complaining about it?

There have been suggestions by BCCI to put a ban on sledging but seriously what good would that do? It would just end up making a dour sport duller. Atleast, India’s tour of Australia proves, that cricket can be maddening fun and even a hardboiled player can be such a bitch.

Its great to see Indians competing against Australians in Australia and not holding anything back. However, its easy to see that the young team is getting carried away and almost being brash in their field antics. At the other end, Australian players are playing experienced and its easy to see how they are leading Indians to get charged up and make mistakes. Some clear examples:

  • Ponting slipping in a couple of words to Harbhajan as he returns to pavilion
  • Symonds mouthing off as he gets out. (And with all that animated gesture shown clearly on the video, he wants us to believe all he said was “Good ball”). C’mon
  • Hayden’s recent “Obnoxious weed” comment.

All were meant to unsettle the opposition and all were successful in doing so without getting Aussies into problem (except Hayden). As Dhoni said the other day, sledging is an art (mastered by Aussies). It has to be perfected, to give as much back without getting charged.

I love the way Aussies play – hard, aggressive even though a tad unfair. They go about things believing in their ability and desire to win. But I will give it to the Indian players that they have proved to be a worthy foe and not just rolled over.

If I was to pick one player to come out worst of this series, it would undoubtedly be Ponting. He has been acting like a schizophrenic all the time. One moment he talks about hard and fair play, next moment he is all worked up when somebody says his appeal for a catch was unfair (based on video evidence). One moment he gives suggestions to umpire about a decision and next moment he grins a devious smile when interviewed about gentleman’s catching agreement. One moment he gives it as bad as he can to the opposition but the next moment he is next to umpire when he gets some. I was a fan of Ponting, when all he knew was how to put the opposition to the mat. He now acts like a wussy. What a stark change!

However, the biggest issue of this mid-winter madness is the marked animosity between the citizens of two countries. Australians think Indians are louts and degenerates, and Indians call Aussies crooks and whiners. And this feeling is spreading like fire, more so over the web. There are millions and millions of forums doing nothing but abusing each others country and countrymen. Articles and blog sites having a field day with all the bi-polar comments that are flying around. Surely the matter of winning a game or a series can not be as important that you come to a point where both the country sees each other but objects deserving vilification. Players have done nothing to help and boards of both the countries lesser so.

I would say we are being treated to best cricket on display with a very heady mix of a great cricketing rivalry. Lets just keep our sensitivities aside and stop labeling Australians for what their players are doing on the field. Lets just support our own team and let Aussies take care of their own bunch. Finally, lets enjoy the Cricket!





Calvin and Hobbes: The Anatomically correct Snowman

22 10 2007

Hyper-imaginative Calvin at it all over again. Easily my favourite Calvin and Hobbes comic strip! Click on the image to view the complete strip.

Calvin & Hobbes

Bill Watterson is a GOD!





Writer’s block at work

20 10 2007

[*Mulling over a topic to write upon.*]

Pondering over the past few weeks. Things have been unusually busy. Topic… Topic… Topic…

Charlie came visiting last week. Was great catching up with a person who I have been talking to over messenger, skype and phone over the last two years. Great person! Even accompanied our team to watch our Inter company Cricket matches. Hmm, that reminds me we lost both our matches and were out of tournament in 3 days time. Have to work on our cricket team.

Visit to botanical garden (with Charlie and Jonas) was amazing. Did learn a lot about birds and insects. Could make for a great blog topic (and would give me a chance to show off my recently acquired knowledge).

Hmm… that’s it!

Take 1: “My experiments with Nature”.

[*Thinking of the story line*]

Let me think… I set alarm to wake me up at 8:00 am (tough life). Bird watchers and insect gazers are habitual early risers or so I am told. I remember getting up kicking myself at light filtering in through the flowing curtains, deadly sure that I was late again. For first time I was pleased to find I was wrong – the timepiece had 7:33 am on its face!

[*Thinking....*]

[*Still thinking...*]

[*Suddenly becomes aware of that vacuum in his mind and his fingers over the keyboard that have now been stalled for almost half an hour*]

This topic obviously isn’t working right now.

[*Realises he is not in a mood to write a travelogue right now.*]

hah! Let me write a sarcastic post on Ricky Ponting and his big mouth. The buffoon’s statements over the last year would give me enough spicy material to write a two pager.

Take 2: “Captain Hillarious”

That was a smart choice of topic and a great name for the post. That was a smart play on the words “Captain Courageous” that are associated to Ponting.

[*thinks to himself - "Well done m'boy"*]

Hey what about “A little less Po-i-nting”? Hmm.. I think I would go with “A little less Po-i-nting”. That ain’t so bad afterall.

Take 3: “A little less Po-i-nting”

[*Thinking of how to start the piece*]

Let me give an analogy of a kid seeing a candyman. That would be interesting. Hmm.. but how do I develop it further? What about start with a funny quote on big mouth gorillas or hypocrites or double standards. Nothing better than a funny Twainesque or a smart Churchillish quote at the beginning of the post, gets the readers going all the time!

[*Thinking of a quote...*]

[*Googling now...*]

[* Getting frustrated...*]

This is a bad day to be writing blogs.

Footnote: All you writers who ever had a writer’s block – I feel for you.

[*Decides to leave blog post to another day and retires to give his brain some rest*]








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.