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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rain, and a new blog

The met. office has confirmed that the monsoon winds have hit the Kerala coast already, and right now, at 1610 hours, the sky overhead is dark with billow upon billow of the best sort of clouds, and it has been raining off and on since morning. I have no idea whether this is the real thing or a pre-monsoon shower or whatever, nor do I care – it is a treat to all the senses, and I am luxuriating. I love a rainy sky accompanied by lightning and deep rumbling thunder more than almost anything else, and I had almost started forgetting what it looked and sounded like, and now I can draw in lungfuls of the smell of warm, damp earth even as the squall drives the drizzle into my face and the freshly-bathed trees sway in the wind and the rain patters on a tin roof, and I am happy again after a long time. How truly has it been said that we often quite unnecessarily look for complicated philosophical explanations for feeling happy and sad, when the fact is that all we need is for nature to smile on us now and then. And how unfortunate are all those people around the world, however rich, who live in such artificial or constrained circumstances that they neither notice nor can thrill to the changing rhythms of the seasons!... in any case, after living through one of the most horrid summers in recent memory, I am looking forward to enjoying a long rainy season.

(2115 hours): A little news item titled ‘World’s oldest blogger dies at 97’ caught my eye in yesterday’s newspaper. I clicked here, and was charmed. Take a look at it yourself. It’s mostly written in Spanish, but there are snippets here and there in English, too, and in any case it was the idea that fascinated me: that a woman, thanks to a gift from her grandson, could find a very invigorating new way to live life richly at age 95, that her thinking aloud on life and living could draw so many visitors that she became an overnight celebrity meriting a personal visit from her country’s prime minister, that she was blogging away almost right up to her dying day… I am a keen blogger myself, and I envy her, and pray that her soul may rest in peace (or that she might be happily blogging away in some other dimension beyond space and time!). It would be a good thing indeed if I could bring the world into my room the same way in the years left to me. I wish that Indians had been keener readers and writers. If they had taken to the internet with the same alacrity that they have taken to the mobile phone, this blog would have been far better known, read and commented upon already. It is a pity that in such a gigantic country where so many people supposedly put a very high premium on ‘education’, so few people consider reading a great way to spend their time!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

General elections

The people have spoken. Vox populi, vox dei!

I only wish to put on record that I am delighted with the results, not because I have ever been a diehard Congress supporter, not because I share the euphoria over the likelihood of Rahul Gandhi taking over soon as prime minister and things like that, but because:

1. It was high time that India’s future stopped being held at ransom by a motley group of half-baked, johnny-come-lately regional parties which have no vision, no significantly discernible goals beyond the gargantuan selfish ambitions of their very crude and petty leaders, no long-term plans, no clear understanding, even, of the needs and troubles facing India as a nation (rather than a congeries of sub-national identities…), and
2. It was more than essential and urgent that the rotten, sick, too-big-for-its-boots Left Front was cut down to size at the national level, and got a wake-up call at the state level in West Bengal. If they still don’t press the panic button, if they still don’t realise that the bell is tolling for them, if they still don’t eat humble pie, get back to square one and start retrospecting over, and correcting, everything that has gone badly wrong with their brand of politicking over the last three decades, they will richly deserve the drubbing and disaster that is waiting for them in the 2011 state Assembly elections (please see what I wrote here, especially the open letter I wrote to The Telegraph congratulating as well as warning the Buddhadev Bhattacharjee government after they won the state elections last time round).

I wish Mamata Banerjee good luck – she has earned it – and pray that statesmanlike good sense will prevail on her. I shall now sit back to watch what kind of alliance is cobbled together by Madam Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh-ji to form the new government at the centre, and what sort of programme it chalks out for itself. Accordingly, I may write postscripts to this blogpost every now and then. Watch this space. And questions and arguments are welcome, of course…

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Monkeys in Armani suits

Andrew Sheng is a scholar and high-level government official who has succinctly and hilariously explained how the recent global economic meltdown came about – as I wrote in this blog a while ago, it was basically brought about by all-round greed of the ‘monkey’ variety (read Sheng’s article). He has saved me a lot of trouble. For those of my readers who cannot wade through ‘sophisticated’ economic jargon to get to the heart of the matter, let me leave the assurance that it all happened exactly as Sheng has described: truth has always been stranger than fiction (or rather, great writers pick up cues from all the bizarre truths they see around them). Only, he might have explained the ‘herd instinct’ (which is, believe it or not, very strong among the rich and ‘educated’ – meaning MBAwallahs, of course, not the really wise) and ‘domino effect’ in a little more detail, though I guess that would have made the article drearily long, and robbed it of much flavour. And he might have quoted Abraham Lincoln, too: ‘You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time’. Alas, hotshot MBAs thought they could! That is why that line at the end of Sheng’s article is priceless – a monkey in an Armani suit is still a monkey (I could sue him for stealing my line… this is something I have said a thousand times in my classes!). Such monkeys impress only other monkeys like themselves. The problem with the world today is that there are too many greedy monkeys around, all flaunting MBAs and the latest boys’ toys, and they manage to rise very high up the corporate ladder before people begin to find out how harmful such monkeys are… as the wag said, the only thing we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history (it is not just a pretty coincidence that as a rule those who aim to be MBAs already find history 'uncool' by early teenage)!
P.S., May 15: For those who still imagine MBAs know and do something worthwhile, here is an eye-opening link. Of course, those who don't want to have their eyes opened...! many thanks to Navin Rustagi for this link.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The other blog

While it is gratifying to see that the visit count and number of followers of this blog keep going up steadily, I really do think that my other blog (click here) deserves more visits, comments and followers!