November 26, 2006

Long interval...

The last post I did on this blog was in April! Like this one, that was an attempt to restart the habit of writing on this page!

During this period- I have been denied permission to enter into US once (you doesn't seem fit yet!), I have worked hard and have enjoyed it, some of my colleagues and roomies have left this place, I have moved one place forward in the family queue of unmarried eligible bachelors, another CAT year is over and I am probably thinking about a location change! But in totality, everything remains the same!!

I visited Kerala once during this time, just after three months of my last one making it the shortest duration I have been away from my home after coming here. Kerala has not changed much, except that now the ruling party is the one with red flag. I had thought I am becoming more and more ignorant about the state, but realized that it is not the case. I am not the only one who is not aware of the ministers ruling the state, people living there seemed to know little about them. All the projects announce by the dethroned Congress government seemed to be re-launched, some in another name altogether! And the yesteryear's hero as leader of opposition has become a zero in Kerala's chief minister. He was still trying to get into his old clothes, last heard was him blaming the UDF government for the spread of Chikungunya in Alappuzha.

I read some really good books in the meantime. Anne Frank's Diary, The Fifth Mountain, The Fountainhead, and To Kill a Mocking Bird being some of them. Latter is the one i liked most.

Google has done some really amazing things during this time. I have integrated my blogger account with my Google account while writing this, thus releiving from the hazzle of remembering one more id-password. I have started adding my documents to google docs, and have started reading blogs and news from my enhanced and not-anymore-beta Google reader. I would like to conclude this post here, hope to be more active on this page in future!

April 20, 2006

Indian Politics, What is the Way Out?

Hopefully in the next decade, every Indian will have a political party representing his or her region, religion, caste, sex etcetera unless a political restructuring for consolidation happens. While everybody is aware of this as a problem with our politics, only very few is aware of a practical solution. Today's Hindu has an interesting article by Pran Chopra, which explains what does constitutional experts say about this. Here are the excerpts:
"A candidate should be declared elected to Parliament only when he has obtained the votes of at least half the people who have voted. And if no such candidate emerges in the first round of polling there should be a second and last round in which the leader and the runner-up in the first round should be the only candidates. The House chosen in this way should then choose its leader in the same way, in two rounds at most.

The government formed by him should be open to challenge but only by a challenger who has demonstrated, in the same manner, that he has the support of at least half the House.

This single reform can achieve at least three objectives. The House will always have the support of at least half the concerned voters, the government will always have the confidence of at least half the House, and candidates at both levels, knowing that one day they may need the support of at least half the voters will, even in the first round, refrain from casting their appeal on narrow and sectarian lines.

The merits of the scheme are not in doubt. The mystery is why we do not adopt it."
There have been instances when the entire politicians of the country united on a subject, increasing the salary of parliamentary members or overriding the supreme court law on the (dis)qualifications of an election candidate being some of them. Having seen on these political dramas live on the news channels, I doubt how many Indians will really find this one as mysterious as the author finds it!

April 18, 2006

The Entertainment Politics!

Should IIMs and IITs increase the reservation quota is the latest controversy! There are arguments for and against, I am with those who see this as another political gimmick to mobilise some votes during this election season. And yes, this is another decision without a foresight or ignoring it, about the long term impacts this would create on our education system; the backbone of the present 'shining' state of India Inc. The reservations for the backward classes to be ended within 10 years of independence continue to be the best tool to manipulate a voter's decision, Gandhiji must have foreseen this while he protested against its initial implementation itself! While this remains to be the hottest issue around, another political drama is being enacted by mallu filmdom. The film industry in the state had become officially political with the creation of associations for actors, directors and other technicians. But now, they seem to be playing a different ball game, to capitalise on the divisive arena created by the politicians of the state.

It is said that actor Mohanlal has more fans in the southern part of Kerala while Mammotty has more fans in Malabar area. The first movie which tried to openly take advantage of this fact was Harikrishnans, in which both heroes acted together, the film had a different climax depending on the region it was shown, the hero with more popularity in the region got the heroin! Where do the people from central Kerala belong? The Star of the Masses, Dileep would have thought about this while he came with a movie titled Kochirajav which was meant to make him more popular in central Kerala. The fact that he has played an auto driver and he hails from this part of Kerala would have added to the advantage of churning out such a film.

Usually, in mallu movies people speak the Kottayam dialect which is very close to the print language. But for sometime now there has been some changes to this! In the Mammooty starrer Rajamanikyam the hero spoke the northern mallu aka thirondoram dialect, the film became the biggest hit in the region. Mammooty then acted in another film named Bus Conductor in which he played the role of a member of minority guy from Malabar, the film was well received in the region. And in the latest movie Thuruppugulan Mammooty speaks the central Kerala aka Cochin dialect, with that he almost covered the entire Kerala!

Mohanlal has already tried playing the role of a Muslim guy in Kilichundan Mambazham speaking Malabar dialect, but the film was not well received with the audience. I am not sure about his forth coming films, but it seems like the trend will continue. The fact that heroes like Jayaram and Suresh Gopi who continued with their tried and tested formulae are struggling to give a hit film, also makes this the perfect alternative. I am wondering when will be the time these heroes will start speaking in a gulf-returned-mallu or a US-returned-mallu accent? For long, the Mallus have been happy judging the politicians to find out who is a better actor, the time have come for them to name the actor who is a better politician!

January 17, 2006

Surprisingly SBI

The boom in the indian economy has made me an investor in stocks. My portfolio includes stocks of State Bank of India. I have read about the vast expansion plans of the bank and have been impressed by the new "surprisingly SBI" series of advertisements they have been using for a brand make over. The advertisements aim to create awareness that despite all the competition from private sector banks it is SBI that is numero uno. After an attempt to open a PPF account today, which is allowed only in a public sector bank, I have come to know the employees of SBI take this change very seriously.

The story goes thus:

We four from my company set out for opening a PPF account which would help us to save some tax, the destination being the SBI branch in Cyber Towers, Hitech City. We had taken with us the address/identity proofs and PAN card that are required to open a PPF account as per the government rules. We reached the bank and went inside, to my amazement the infrastructure looked world class and at par with any other private bank. But inside the bank we could find only to three officers seated and many of the seats were empty. We asked one of them that we have come to open a PPF account, and the reply was nothing one could think in the wildest of imaginations. She said "There are not enough passbooks available" and started doing her work. For sure I was surprised, but thought she must have some grudge towards the guys there at PPF that she gave such a silly answer. We approached another guy who was well dressed and even wore a tie (I am not sure if he intended to surprise the customers who thought they wear ties only if employed by private banks). But his reply was far more surprising "We do not have enough staff to do this, already some fifty PPF applications are pending here". We have got money that we are ready to invest, (for which a private bank would send a hundred executives to you), but these people are telling that they do not have enough staff and passbook. What the hell do we do? We sort of begged to the guy-with-the-tie and the reply was "You can check with State Bank of Hyderabad in the next room".

The infrastructure at SBH looked great. The lady at the first desk whom we approached asked "Do any of you have an account here?" None of us had one. "You should find out somebody who has account here to introduce you, the Reserve Bank of India is very strict now-a-days on this rule." But we do not know anyone, none of us are locals. "Then you can check with SBI in the next room". What?!

We then looked up the name boards inside the building to find out other nationalized banks. Only Punjab National Bank and Bank of India were there. My friend told his brother had a PPF account with PNB. We went there, but the guy told "We do not have PPF accounts, you can go to SBI". And the reply at Bank of India was same, though I am not sure if it is a nationalized bank. We then tried Madhapur Post Office and SBI branch at Jubilee Hills but was of no use. After two hours of toing and froing between banks and post offices unsuccessfully we decided to give up.

I have now become doubtful about the validity of the statement "elephants can dance" that they use to indicate that SBI can still perform well in the stock market. I had bought the shares for long term investment but am doubtful now of keeping them for long. I believe it would be illegal if I provide the passbook and staff for the SBI even if I can, so I will put my money in any of the other tax benefit schemes that are less surprising.