Friday, April 28, 2006

Dubai from Aussie eyes!!!!

I read this in dubai-discussions@ yahoo groups forum by and found it apt,crisp and releavant:

Life in Dubai is different, in fact whole lot of different from Australia with some aspects better.

Things that are positive :

  • No crime, cheap fuel, very international.
  • Police are amazing. Very polite and helpful, but switched on. No attitude.
  • Business is easy to run, with fewer restrictions and opportunities more flexible.
  • At higher positions the rewards here are better than in Australia, financially and otherwise, for lesser experienced / qualified / in a lesser position, then the financial benefits would be far less ( 1/10th).
  • There are no politics here; no pressure groups, no political bickering, and things get done.
    The sheikh has support and respect that is usually only found for much loved apolitical Kings, such as in Thailand.
  • The pace, vision and development here is the envy of the world (or should be).
  • The hotels are lovely places to go out despite the shocking service and high prices.
  • The women here are treated with great respect, and also have self respect - contrary to Western beliefs.

On flip side:

  • There is rampant discrimination based on passport, particularly towards Indians, Filipinos, Indonesians, Chinese and Russians.
  • There is a very poor control of accommodation standards, working hours and payments towards workers. There is, overall, a very poor work ethic - too many staff doing too little for too long in almost all sectors.
  • Salaries are third world low for most, with no overtime, bonus or productivity incentive. No opportunities to better oneself through accredited training, apprenticeships etc, without expensive private colleges.
  • The organization, service standard, reliability and accountability of almost all companies here is appalling compared to most other countries.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Two tough but interesting questions.

Question 1 :
If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis, would you recommend that she have an abortion?

Read the next question before looking at the answer for this one.

Question 2:
It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts. Here are the facts about the three leading candidates.
Candidate A - Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists. He's had two Mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.
Candidate B - He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.
Candidate C - He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and never cheated on his wife.

Which of these candidates would be your Choice?

Candidate A: is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B : is Winston Churchill.
Candidate C : is Adolph Hitler.

And, by the way, the answer to the abortion question:If you said yes, you just killed Beethoven.

Pretty interesting isn't it? Makes a person think before judging someone.
Never be afraid to try something new.
Remember: Amateurs built the Ark Professionals built the Titanic

Sunday, April 23, 2006

All the best : Mr Pramod Mahajan

I saw Pramod Mahajan soon after BJP lost power in the center. Just outside the arrival porch of the Mumbai airport, while I was waiting for my car to pick me up, he walked out along with his wife to get into his Opal Astra car that his driver had pulled it. He was immaculately dressed in suit and tie. While they are getting into it, driver behind his car switched on his car headlights. Pramod Mahajan thought it must have been someone known to him and started looking at him through his half shut eyes blinded by the car lights. When the car driver started honking, he realized that it wasn’t the case of the man knowing Mr Mahajan but his annoyance of Mr. Mahajan’s taking his own time to get into the car.

Just few months ago, with India Shining campaign – it was a familiar sight of Mr. Pramod Mahajan with the bevy of journalists around him. Now with BJP thrown out of power and with his detractors in his own party gunning him for the party debacle, he was clearly a man out of media circulation. Seeing him outside Mumbai airport alone with his wife without media paraphernalia made me realize the vagaries of Indian politics and importance of being saddled in power. I did feel sad for him.

The continuous media coverage of Pramod Mahajan since y’day brought me the memories of his forlorn appearance at the Mumbai airport. Now even without the trappings of political power, he has bounced back to the attention of Media. Like Arun Jathely, Sitaram Yechuri, Omar Abdullah he is one of rare faces of Indian Politicians who have gift of glib, camera friendly face and impeccable demeanour.

I do hope and pray that he defies all the odds as he fights his health battle and bounce back to where he belongs-center of media attention.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Jingoism without animosity

Date: April 19th 2006-04-20
Place: Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Occasion: End of India Pak one day match.
Result: Pakistan lost.

During award presentation ceremony, when Rameez Raja called Inzamam – losing captain for a customary chat, Inzy began in different fashion than what he used to. First Inzamam didn’t say ‘Bismillah-e-Rehman-e-Rahim!’ and second he started conversing in Hindi instead of English. I wonder if he had read about this humour that has been going around on net.

Most Pakistani cricketers, who are not comfortable in conversing in English, go prepared for some standard questions that are asked from them when commentators chat with them during the awards ceremony. Inzamam was once asked a different question after Pakistan won the match, for which he was not prepared. He always had a standard response to the first question. But this time.....

Tony Greig: So Inzi, that's fantastic, your wife is pregnant for the second time!
Inzamam: Bismillah-e-Rehman-e-Rahim! All credit goes to the boys. Everyone work hard for it, especially Afridi. It was tight situation when he went in. Without his strokes it not has been possible. He was pulling the good balls. And putting the pressure all the time. Wicket was wet so Afridi took no chances. Specially on leg side. Also Bob Woolmer keeping close watch on progress and giving instructions. It's all team effort which pulled us out of big hole. Insha Allah, we all will work together as team, put in big effort and deliver good result all the time.

Not so much in good taste but does evoke a laugh.

Notwithstanding Inzy’s skills in English, he showed today why he is considered one of greatest batsman in the contemporary world of cricket. I was at India Pakistan one day match after almost 14 years. The only two players that are still part of both teams that played 14 years ago are Sachin and Inzamam. Sachin wasn’t playing due to the injury. Inzy was at its best. He almost single handedly carving out an impossible victory much the same manner Javed Miandad did in Sharjah. Its no surprise to see the exuberant joy coming from normally reticent Rahul Dravid when he ran out Inzy.

Few of the incidents that remained in my memory after being part of this spectacle in Abu Dhabi:

· I was curious to observe the reaction of ‘ burkha clad’ woman and her Indian husband – both Indian nationals – when Pakistan supporters were going gung ho with screams of “ La ilah ilallah “. I was amused when she said that “ shukar karo unke mooh say allah ka naam to aya “. She and her husband were most vociferous supporters of India and neutralized the effect of bombastic pak supporters.
· When chips were down for India with India reeling at 150 for 7 at 40 over mark, shouts of Pakistan Zindabad everywhere around us… her husband resorted to ‘salman zindabad’ ‘shahrukh zindabad’ ‘jai maharashtra’ evoking even ardent pak supporters with gaping mouths and laugher everywhere.
· One thing was evident, despite all the cacophony of boisterous support from respective fans, there was almost no animosity. Someone managed to get 20 liter water bottle and used it as a drum. This drum was shared bet both supporters as they situation changed from one side to other.
· North stand had reserved seats, so supporters from both sides were mixed. But as the match progressed, vocal supporters seemed to converge under ‘flag brigade ‘who carried long flags under their head and paraded from one end to another.
· Behind me, were three siblings with age gap of almost 10 years. They must have been US bred with their English accent. Their patriotism was evident with Pak jersey and green track suit but were keen to see Indian batsman do well. For them, it was sheer enjoymentof Cricket irrespective of who performs well.
· Indian supporters outnumber Pakistani ones but when it comes to vocal chords, Indian are no match to Pak- Pathan ones. Most Indian supporters are white collar workers and tend to get tired. Some Indian woman can match the vocal chord strengths of Pak supporters with shouts of Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Ganpati Bappa Moraya

Witnessing live India Pak cricket match is a memorable experience, but I do miss TV action replays. I hope one day, mobile camera would receive TV images. This with binocular would be best combination to be at stadium.

They say, true sportsmanship belies jingoism but the very aspect of jingoistic gung ho make this spectacle unique. What is heartening to see is the receding animosity towards each other. Both supporters want their team to win but they also want to have that victory after pulsating battle of good performance from both the sides.

Monday, April 17, 2006

1,750,000 Year Old Man Made Bridge

NASA Shuttle has imaged a mysterious ancient bridge between India and Sri Lanka, as mentioned in the Ramayana. The recently discovered bridge, currently named as Adam's Bridge and made of a chain of shoals, 30 km long, in the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka, reveals a mystery behind it.

The bridge's unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man-made. Legend as well as Archeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago and the bridge's age is also almost equivalent.

Huge Jospeh writes …

This information is a crucial aspect for an insight into the mysterious legend called Ramayana, which was supposed to have taken place in tredha yuga (more than 1,700,000 years ago). In this epic, there is a mentioning about a bridge, which was built between Rameshwaram (India) and Srilankan coast under the supervision of a dynamic and invincible figure called Rama who is supposed to be the incarnation of the supreme.

This bridge, according to accounts in the Ramayana and the Srimad-Bhagavatam, was constructed in the age know as Treta, over 2 million years ago. (There are 4 ages, or yugas, rotating through time like the 4 seasons: Satya, 1,800,000 yeas long; Dvarapa, 1,200,000 years long, Treta, 800,000 years long and Kali, 432,000 years long. In this most recent yuga cycle, the Dvarapara and Treta yugas were reversed. This event took place about 2 million years ago.)

How did the writers without super space-ranging satellites know about the existence of this bridge? In these ancient accounts, written over 5,000 years ago, we find discussions of, among other things, space travel, inter planetary travel, what we call UFOs and what we mistakenly call ETs. This is not only the History of the planet Earth, but also of this Universe, (a mediocre universe among many millions of universes.) Here one can also learn the real undisguised and uncontaminated truth about God. Our man-made religions are of little or no value when compared to the stunning and breathtaking revelations found in the pages of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Ramayan, Bhagavad-gita, etc.

source :'s%20bridge&textsearch=Go&hitsperpage=5&pageno=1&photoId=STS056-78-83's_Bridge.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

shantaram -marathi is now part of Hollywood

I strongly believe that every criminal –how hardened he may be – has his humane facet intact and every noblest human being who has dedicated his life with his charitable deeds does have a room for his lurching criminal bend of mind. We gloss over charitable acts of noblest people and condemn criminal act with a single stroke of brush. I also feel majority of people like me have both these traits in sizeable measure and we very easily could have tilted to either side depending upon the presence of catalyst at critical phases of our life. I also don’t believe that crime happens only because of necessity, compulsion or helplessness. I think crime often does take place for sheer thrill of doing it or take pleasure in hoodwinking the so called guardians of dos and don’ts of moral, ethical life.

I met shantaram by chance. On my flight back from USA, south Indian USA bred man was reading ‘maximum city’ by Suketu Mehta -a novel about Bombay and Shiv Sena. I rummaged through pages but I felt it worthless to spend money to buy a book on a subject that I am well versed with it. When I saw an interview of David Gregory Roberts on NDTV, it amused me to see white skinned foreigner staying in mumbai slums, being in prison and doing all sorts of nefarious activities and top of it speaking fluent Marathi. So when a chance came to buy Shantaram – 946 page thick novel by Roberts for few hundred rupees at mumbai airport signal, I grabbed the chance.

I liked Shantaram because I could easily relate to his thought process, his vulnerability to fall in love with people more for their sheer innocence and generosity and less for the manner they earn their roti. I loved the way Shantaram see things – in Indian cities, villages and decipher the complex behavior montage of Indian people through regimented, programmed western way of thinking. I was delighted by his logic of reasoning in doing illegal things and giving every thing that he earned to the people who gave him love, respect and standing. Shantaram is an epitome of virtues that resides in most criminals who have opted to be criminal without any compulsion or desperation.

''Shantaram,'' is combination of Gregory’s real life events and his flights of imagination. Those who grew up in Mumbai and are familiar with Colaba, Cuff Parade, Haji Ali and Dongri can relate to everything that Shantaram describes in vivid manner. For Mumbaikars, life in slum is a way of life that lies just across their boundary wall of their dwellings. They peep through slum life when they take short route to reach a railway station or hunt for housemaid when she hasn’t turned up for work. But shantaram takes us to the daily grind of slum filled with little pleasures that we have almost forgotten living in moss layered, iron grilled concrete cubicle called apartments. Our stay in those slums that spans almost 1/4th of this novel brings the resilience of human character in adapting nauseated ,unhygienic conditions while weaving formidable relationship with wonderful souls of Prabhakar, Qasim Ali, Johnny Cigar, Anand, Raju.

Our migration from slum to the inner ring of Mumbai’s gang lord is palpable with the presence of Muslim and Pathan dominance. Those of us who have seen the days of Haji Mastan, Karim lala can conjure images of Khaderbhai, Abdullah easily. What is difficult to digest is elite prostitution racquet run by crazy woman Madam Zou, Arthur road prison ordeals that resemble prison in Iraq during Saddam Hussein regime. But this incongruence also makes us realize that this is after all a fiction and we must give a room for author’s imagination.

The novel loses its steam towards the end when Shantaram doesn’t catapult to become a heroic figure either in criminal world or charitable social cause. His dalliance with both these worlds and fling with Bollywood could have been a catalyst to drive him in either pole with consummate perfection. I feel this is where; it lost out to be racy, scintillating crime based novels despite crisply delineated characters. Durability of imprint of a book or a movie is often measured at the pace it generates as story or script unfolds and the manner it reaches crescendo in the final stage. Reader or viewer gets engrossed often to lose bearing of time and abandon one’s own thoughts. Shantaram, unfortunately meanders, stutters and gasps at the last stages. This novel had all the Indian ingredients to have same impact as that of Godfather with Italian ingredients.

Shantaram’s humane facet gets elucidated by Karla,Khader, Vikram, Tariq ,Didier bring the best of philosophy, spiritually in lucid and innovative manner in most mundane settings and conversations. Khaderbhai’s Pushtu heritage tells us “You are not a man until you give your love, truly and freely to a child. And you are not a good man until you earn the love, truly and freely, of a child in return”. Karla in her seductive charm reveal “Men reveal what they think when they look away and what they feel when they hesitate. With woman, it’s the other way around”. Didier sums up over beer drinking chat that “News tell you what people did. Gossip tells you how much they enjoyed it”. With his Italian French background, he relates India with Italy “Indians are the Italians of Asia and vice versa. Every man in both countries is a singer when he is happy, and every woman is a dancer when she walks to the shop at the corner. For them, food is the music inside the body and music is the food inside the heart. Amore or Pyar makes every man a poet, a princess of peasant girl if only for second eyes of man and woman meets.” Shantaram in his unique manner finds logic of most Indians avoiding Pork “Sight of wild, hairy, black pigs roaming through filth, eating the waste. This may be efficient and environmentally benign method of waste disposal but a definite argument in favor of vegetarianism”. His being in love makes him profess “Being in love we often pay no attention whatsoever to the substance of what lover says, while being intoxicated to ecstasy by the way its said” and at the end he says what all do in this life “We all strive to do one good thing to balance all the wrong that we have done in the past”

To summarize, Shantaram promises a lot in the beginning, entertains in the middle part and dies unnatural death before it ends. I think it has very potent and lethal substance to make a formidable script. Now that 'Shantaram' is turning into a movie with Johnny Depp as Shantaram, Marathi is all set to make its presence in Hollywood.

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