Archive for the ‘India’ Category

CWC 2011 Final in Mumbai

So is it good news? Certainly! I am no longer a resident Mumbaikar, but I will start trying for those tickets right away. Never mind that there’s a World Cup to go before that!

My previous experience at the Wankhede was quite unforgettable! India vs England in 2003, I think. And more recently at the Brabourne, it was even better sitting in the press box watching Sri Lanka hammer the West Indies in the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 qualifiers. Ah! What a view that was!

The point here is I don’t care which stadium hosts the final, it’s an unforgettable experience. But I seriously hope it happens at the Wankhede. Knowing the ICC’s commercial requirements of a “clean stadium” (i.e. sans any advertising committments), it could well happen at the CCI (Brabourne). That was the reason the Champions Trophy matches for Mumbai were not played at Wankhede!


It’s not easy to really make money, is it? But some people seem to have an easier time of it than others. But Rs 1.5 lakh per minute? That seems a bit much for even the highest paid execs, eh?

 Not for our own Bollywood siren, though. Through some deft negotiations and timely under-handedness, Mallika Sherawat has (according to “sources”) ensured that this is indeed a rich New Years eve for her reports the Mid-Day.

And the result will be that she would draw Rs 1.5 lakh for every minute she performs at any hotel.

These shows usually last half-an-hour; so on December 31, Mallika will make Rs 1.5 lakh for each minute of work, said a reliable Bollywood source.

Which also implies that she would be performing at more than one hotel. Or is it?

MiD DAY has now learned that she is going to perform for the highest bidder — the JW Marriott at Juhu for a sum of Rs 50 lakh.

Mallika Sherawat What this means is that patrons at the JW Marriott (in Mumbai) would be treated to about 33.33 minutes of Mallika.

Wonder if this includes changes and time lost between dance numbers… And I also wonder how much the entry to the JW would cost on 31st!

Crowd behaviour is also on top of the Hotel’s list as they keep an eye out for how many people get to attend. They sure have learned from their experience, it would seem:

Last year, when Malaika Arora Khan was the star attraction there, the tickets were priced at Rs 5,950. Nuell said ticket prices were raised because the hotel wants a smaller crowd.

“Last year, controlling the crowd was a major issue.

This time, we want less people and more spice at the event. So, we have fixed on a higher price.”

So there… now you know what you need to earn Rs 1.5 lakh per minute. A body like Mallika’s, a total lack of professionalism and a hotel that’s, well, stupid enough to pay this kind of money.

But… can you dance?

The heat is on

Greg Chappell finds himself in the middle of another storm. It really is interesting and commendable to note the tenacity of the man. He has gone through some really turbulent times and emerged on top. Till now, that is. But if the Indian team’s performance does not improve soon, there may be trouble. Although the BCCI President Sharad Pawar has backed Chappell, it won’t take time for him to lose this backing for the matter is making news in the Parliament now!

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Miss GB is Indian

It seems there may have been some controversy about the Miss Great Britain pageant. Hindustan Times informs us that Preeti Desai of Indian roots has been chosen to replace Danielle Lloyd who was fired as Miss Great Britain. Interestingly, the official site of the pageant is also asking for information and news items relating to the incident. Hm. Back to Ms Desai, though, who goes on (in true pageant style; pardon the cynicism here) to thank so-and-so for bringing the smile back and the whole nine yards. It is impressive, though, to note the vast ‘talent’ she was chosen from. Oh, and in case you do find more info about the aforementioned Ms Lloyd, do let us know too. We are very interested. Update: From Preeti Desai’s site:

Danielle, 22, was sacked for reportedly dating judge Teddy Sheringham before he voted for her, and for agreeing to pose in Playboy.

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Perverse security?

Perverse? Secure? It’s a fine line. And I doubt if multiple layers of clothing would help, either!

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Boy am I glad I moved out of Mumbai! Not that I could have afforded any of these places, anyways! Still.

Note to self: Start saving to buy property in Mumbai. At the current rate of interest, the amount I may be able to save and inflation, I should be ready to buy my own shanty in Dahisar by 2030, i.e., when I hit 50. Good plan, mate, good plan!

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Diarist wonders…

Interesting column in the Mid-Day by their ‘diarist’:


Whether Mumbai will sprout a new worker – the street dentist who works on filling the craters on our roads.

Whether we will soon see cars suspended on chains from buildings as vertical parking spaces get more ingenious.

Whether Kiran Desai has spent any amount of the prize money she won from the Booker this year.

If Brangelina, Tom Kat, Bennifer and other terms will be added to the next edition of the Oxford dictionary.

What Gandhi would have to say to the controversy over the remix of his favourite Bhajan.

Whether Anant Gupta will grow up to make a film about his three-day ordeal with his kidnappers.

Whether Non-Governmental Organisations should advocate a Keep Mumbai Green day where every citizen must wear a green haired wig on the day.

Whether Mumbai’s roadside bhajia and wada pav wallahs will one day fry the bhajias and wadas in olive oil given the increasing health consciousness of customers.

Whether Mumbai’s male actors who wear hair bands nowadays might start sporting those baby hairpins that women use currently.

Why are you reading this tripe, anyway?

So what do you think about the Anant Gupta question? I think he will!

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I’m going to Blogcamp

I’m going to Blogcamp. What’s that, you say? Know more about it here. And watch out for more updates as they happen.


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Child marraige?

The groom doesn’t seem to think so. What can I say? It happens only in India!

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What is this country coming to? After an initial block on blogs after 7/11, the Congress party (in power) has decided to flex its muscle and ban all Anti-Congress blogs and sites. The explanation states:

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) passed an order to ISPs on July 14 to block blog sites, as they were said to be spreading anti-national message. The list of the websites to be blocked was confidential

Now. since when did Anti-Congress become Anti-National? Most sites that have been asked to be blocked talk negatively (or truthfully, if you will) about the Congress and its allies. Why are these bans never extended to the mainstream media? Why can newspapers write true stuff and survive? Ditto for TV Channels?

Or is that because blogs are new media, they are being experimented with? Something similar had happened recently in Pakistan and China… and we were sandwiched in the middle thinking, “Hm. Nice place, this India”. Well, wake up.

Two points come to mind:

1. Bloggers should be proud of what they do if the govt. needs to block them for it obviously means they are “in the public eye”.

2. The Bajrang Dal blogs? (Don’t bother, it’s blocked!)

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So what’s new? Plastic bags continue to flourish. More hutments will come up along arterial roads, the CM will change the next time around, the new CM will also make promises and break them like this one did, Mumbai will pay the maximum tax yet again and remain the most sorry city again.

Just another day in the life of Mumbai. Maybe it’s time to stop paying taxes and instead adopt a stretch of road to fix, eh? That way, maybe more could be done…

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Puneri Hindi

Could not resist this. The best part is, I have heard a lot of these and more!

Puneri Hindi. Matlab Pune cha Hindi

  • Pahili baar, pohne gaya to kya hua maloom? Pahile paani mein shira, Phir Poha aur baad mein buda.

  • Ghai karo Bhaiyya, Nahi to Bus Jayegi aur humaari Panchaiit hoyengi!

  • Sarbat Mein Limbu Pilaa Kya?

  • Itna Mahaag kaise re tere yahaan? Woh Kopre ka bhaiyya to svasta deta hai!

  • Kaanda kaat ke, Chir ke mast omlete banane ka, aur upar se thoda kothimbir bhurbhuraneka!

  • Arre Baba, Gaadi savli mein laga

  • Eh Bhai, Medu Wada shepret laana, sambar mein budake mat laana!

  • Kes ekdum bareek kaapo bhaiyya!

  • Khao Potbhar khao, laazo mat!

  • Dhaavte Dhaavte girya to kaadkan haat ka haad tutya..

  • Aisa karo pahile aage jao phir davikade walo aur badame phir davikade walo..

India’s Portal

Look what I found: National Portal of India. Who knew it existed? And it looks pretty good too!

Check it out.

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On the backdrop of the Mumbai blasts a week ago, the Indian Govt. has decided to blackout blogspot hosted blogs. Good thing I moved to WP! But more seriously, this is insane. If they could not track it before and block the abuse, how will having some IPs (which would mostly be dynamic) tracked and all help?

Well, that’s the way Indian bureaucracy and politicia (like militia!) works. Reactive rather than proactive.

More details about the blackout at The Great Indian Mutiny.

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Bloggers at it again

Paeans to the blogger again. Very nice! Unfortunately the reason for the panes (the blasts, that is) was nothing to be proud of. I don’t even want to start with this…

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News Whores

Why do these News Channels have to go into buses etc and ask commuters (who are already harrowed enough, mind you) whether they are scared (NDTV is doing that), how they are feeling (CNN-IBN) and if “you think the spirit of Mumbai will prevail”? (All the damn channels). Why not just let them get on or at least ask something substantial?

The worst of the lot was (I think) NDTV who even managed to put up a “presented by” image on the coverage. Is that sick or what? That’s what you call whoring the situation.

How much for the spot on the dead body, please?



I would also like to ask (again) how much Mumbai is going to tolerate… netas and babus will come, promise, tsk tsk and all will be back to normal. And some time later, all shall be forgotten. Unfortunately, some time later, all shall be repeated again too. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next year, maybe 10 years from now… but unless Mumbai stands up and demands its rights, things will not change. Isn’t it time we also, like the US, attacked our attackers? Why are our people’s rights and country’s dignity any less that theirs? So who is the suspect?

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At the moment (12:49 am): Traffic at St Michaels Church junction (Mahim) cleared. It has been diverted away from the Mahim area… more as available

Mumbai blasts
Photo: Hindustan Times

Blogs to follow: India Uncut | Vantage Point | Mumbai Help |
Sites to follow:
Yahoo! | Yahoo! India | The Times of India | NDTV | Rediff | Hindustan Times | CNN-IBN |

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Blasts in Mumbai

Seven (although some claim nine) bombs have exploded across the city of Mumbai bringing the lifeline of city-the trains- to a standstill.

Coverage across the net:
Yahoo! News
Yahoo! India News: Slideshow
India Uncut: Bomb blasts in Mumbai’s railway stations
Desicritics: The inside story

And all news channels!

Another monsoon…

Another monsoon and yet again, Mumbai has come to a standstill. What a shame. For a city that is touted to be the financial nerve centre of not just India, but Southeast Asia, four days of rains is enough to wash it away. Figuratively anyways!

So all the tall claims by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh have come to nought. Ditto for the BMC. Thankfully, the rains are not as bad as they were last year and that is the only reason that things are still somewhat in control. But the forecast for July 4 and 5 is heavy to very heavy rains and that does not sound good.

The problem of Mumbai and its people is that they are accommodating. Too accommodating. They let migrants settle down. They let just about everyone who wants to come over and make a life. As a result, the roads have become inadequate, the public transport insufficient and the quality of life, poor.

Mumbai pays a great deal of India’s income tax. What does it get in return. If my memory serves me right, some Rs 1,000 crore is all that was allotted after last years floods. Like that’s going to help any. Most if it would be required to grease the palms of the babus and ministers who worked to get the grant. What did the city get in return? Another year of flood? More apathy from the centre?

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I am not as well informed about these matters, perhaps but even to the naive eye, the answer to the first question on the linked page (below) would seem absurd… or is it?

Is there something I don’t know?

Mumbai Mirror

Ouch! Another CET

This, the last bastion of easy jobs. Has been. Breached. What next? Would the IT industry also pay taxes some day? Alas…

Mumbai Mirror

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So even the docs in they city agree that Mumbai has the worst roads. Bad enough that they won’t let a heart patient travel on them.

What about trains? Can he take the train to Andheri from Virar? There is a fast one, you see…

Via Mumbai Mirror

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Cop found guilty

Remember the hideous incident where an on-duty constable was charged with raping a college student inside a police chowky on Marine Drive? Well, justice has been served and the said constable Sunil More has been found guilty. He has been sentenced to 12 years' rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 26,500.

What is really heartening is that this verdict was reached well in advance of the 30 April deadline of the fast-track court.

Full report.


Inspired by this post by Anil and an older one of my own, I decided to list down things I miss about home (Pune)… the list is largely similar to the one in my earlier post (almost exactly a year ago), but there are now some additions:

  1. I miss the small lanes of Pune… Bhandarkar Road, Prabhat Road, Income Tax lane and all the bylanes around. Covered with trees round the year, nothing in Mumbai even comes remotely close. Well, maybe Mahim where I now live…
  2. I miss waking up to sunlight and shade of the trees simultaneously. Yes, it’s possible. No, I don’t live on the streets in Pune. No, it does not happen in Mumbai.
  3. I miss FC Road. Crowded as it may be now, it has always been the hub of activity for youngsters. I miss Vaishali restaurant… the dosa… I miss Savera opposite my college. Strangely, I don’t miss college as much as I did last year. Hmm.
  4. I miss Marz-O-Rin. The sandwiches, shakes and pastries. If you are someone who has never been there, well, go.
  5. I miss not being able to reach a hangout in 5 minutes. From anywhere! Except of course one is going from say, Hinjewadi to FC Road. Then, god save you!
  6. I miss the quaintness a small(er) town offers. I miss having the option of taking off to Sinhagad on a whim… especially on overcast days like today. Ah that drive outside the city… the crowd thinning away… Khadakvasla dam, Peacock bay and all the yachts…
  7. I miss those insane drivers who have no respect for traffic rules or anyone else driving behind/ahead/beside them. No wait, I actually have lots of them in Mumbai.
  8. I miss the University of Pune campus and the chai in the small canteen off the roads.
  9. I miss the bustle of the city. Trust me, it’s more than Mumbai in some cases.
  10. Most of all, I miss my street. The colony I grew up in. The small winding road with the ground and the trees all along the roads. Flowers falling in the rain and leaves littering the road.

I wanna go home.

Wrong Number?

I have changed cities twice in the last three years and as you’d imagine, it is quite a nightmare keeping in touch with friends, colleagues (ex and current) and at times even family. Thankfully, my moves were restricted to the small 200km Mumbai-Pune area. But still, the problem persists.

Part of the problem is that Mumbai, despite being the capital of Maharashtra is not part of the same cellular circle. So when you go from Pune to Mumbai, you are on ‘roaming’. Nagpur, or for that matter Goa, which is a good 800km+ away, is still a local call. While all that changed a few months ago, there are still problems with it. Receiving a call in Mumbai on a Maharashtra number costs nothing (unless you are on Airtel in the roaming circle) and vice-versa but making a call is about 2.5x the cost of a local call within your circle.

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Please help in whatever way you can. Since Gaurav Sabnis has said it so well, I will simply link there for more details. But please do help by contributing to the trust.

Remember, he died for us. [Direct Link]

China is censoring everything in sight. Pretty soon, your thoughts could also be censored if you are in China! But the recent ban of certain sites and types of sites by Google (at the behest of the Govt) is a serious attack on the right to freedom. But then, that’s the fabric of the country.

To be fair, even in India, where is the total freedom? Something as trivial as Valentine’s Day is (has been since 2003) under the scanner by local organistions of national stature (yes, I mean that) to “protect” the cultural ethos of the country. What about when these very people are found drinking in the night and creating violence? Isn’t non-violence the call from India? Isn’t what they are doing against democracy? Ironically, democracy is the tool they use when they want to disallow anything democratic. Belive me, it is as cryptic as it sounds. Can’t these groups do anything constructive?

From what I cannot see on TV to what I cannot handle in books and magazines… everything is spellt out for me. Am I really that stupid? And these (or their ilk) are the ones who go about bashing educational institutions like the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute because someone called James Laine wrote something about Shivaji. Would it not be better to prove it wrong than to demolish a heritage building? What did that prove? That we are still a bunch of babboons? No. because, as Manu Bhagavan says, most of the people who have acted against this have not read the book. Maybe because they cannot? Perhaps. In fact, this has gone to the extent that an arrest warrant has been issued against him.

While these incidents may be dismissed as stray and the best way to deal with them would perhaps be said to be ignoring them, it hardly serves as a solution. Do I have to think everytime I want to say or do something? And now that the last standing bastion of total freedom – the Internet – is also being attacked, where does one go?

In many ways, India and China are more alike than apart. Unfortunately, these are not the good ways.

Can I write this openly any more? Can I criticise anyone or anything? Will I suffer for voicing my opinions?

Hope not.

Pune In A ‘Top 10’


Bring out the champagne, for Pune has featured in a Top 10 after a long time. This, of course, not counting the top 10 cities or whatever surveys within India.

The reason to celebrate is Pune featuring in the top 10 (at 3) of the “World’s Top Emerging Cities for Business”. The survey by Forbes, no less, pits it just above Abu Dhabi and Warsaw, but below Tolouse at No. 2. But guess who’s at No. 1? Chengdu, China.

Even in the ’emerging’ lists, there’s no respite. Perhaps this is a clear sign that anything Indian would perhaps remain #2 to China for a long, long, long time to come.

The way I know this city, there has always been potential, but the attitudes of the people, local government and “leaders” has been worse than apathetic. I love Pune, lived there for the best 22 years of my life and would give anything to see it do better. In all aspects. This is a promising start and I can only imagine how many people/agencies/associations would clamour for the credit. End of it all, those who have actually made the difference would be forgotten and the issue would be politicised.

Pune would lose again. I am not normally a nay-sayer, but I have seen this before. And I have the feeling that this would happen again. Check tomorrow’s papers and it would be made out to be much bigger than it is.

Remember the erstwhile post about pigeons converting our bedroom window into their own private maternity home? The situation persists and as P G Wodehouse would say, Queer.

The scene now is that about a week ago, I noticed that the two most recent additions to the ever-growing hordes (or whatever it is) of pigeons had flown away. I planned to clean up the mess the following Sunday (that is on Dec 11)… but to my sheer horror, this morning, I checked and found two more eggs and the mamma pigeon quietly sitting on it.

When will this end? And why my window?

I could easily chuck the whole jamboree out, but I can’t bring myself to doing that. Anyway, what are pigeons good for? They just make gross noises, a lot of shit and provide Bollywood directors ideas for innuendos. Who needs them? Does their existence really serve any purpose? Any why in the name of God must they multiply so fast? Are they planning to take over the world? Are they real rulers and not the mice? Do they know the answer to 42?


Piracy As A Tool?

Piracy of just about anything is deeply rooted in modern India. We almost never want to pay full price. That means, we never want to pay taxes. Multiple reasons for this, surely. Despite understanding the fact that by buying stuff legally (with bill and warranty as it is referred to) that will help improve the overall fiscal state of the country, we often head to the streets looking for deals.

Seriously, when was the last time you were not tempted to buy a cell phone off the grey market? We often even have ‘contacts’ who will assuredly supply us with good stuff at unbelievable prices. Before I put forth my theory that piracy is indeed a self-defence mechanism or indeed a means to revolt, the question needs to be asked as to why it has come to this stage.

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