by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

I hope Manmohan called up the Japanese PM

The Asian Challenge in the FIFA WC 2010 has come to an end with Japan’s exit on penalties.  I hope our PM had called up the Japanese PM to offer his support and regret at the performance of the ‘blue samurais’

We (India, that is) need the support of Japanese in the select Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), our bid for UNSC permanent seat and the Japanese are also the 3rd or the 2nd largest foreign investors in India.

And we need to further our knowledge on electronics, gene research and nano-technology, where Nippon leads; not to mention the Japanese advanced space programme – the solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS.

As they say ‘misery shared is misery halved’ and Japanese always remember these niceties.  Hope the bureaucratic bumbler has some diplomatic flair.
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Me and my big mouth

With twitter and blogger, it is very easy to shoot your mouth off – ask Sashi Tharoor and Lalit Modi. 

Now I too shot off early, by a few hours.  Yesterday I blogged a tongue in cheek comment on Satyam and about it being in background during the ‘offside turned onside’ goal.

It seems, Mahindra Satyam is really behind this FIFA World Cup and doing a good job at it and is the only Indian presence at the games. 

But my wicked half says “Both deserve each other.  Only a zero-IT-savvy organiser will contract continue with a scandal-ridden IT company for back office support."
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Hamilton, Ecclestone and Blatter don't known technology

It has been the mood of the week – aam aadmi’s (common man’s) views being run roughshod – whether it is Hamilton passing safety car in F1, Non-reliance on video in FIFA WC or the Oil price decontrol in India.

But 1st, Lewis Hamilton says he can’t remember anything about passing safety car.  Come on Mr. Hamilton, if you see a safety car even alongside you, it means there is danger on the tracks. Anyway is this alongside?


Watch the youtube video of the incident and frankly it’s why safety car is there in F1, isn’t it?  To give the devil his due, Hamilton is an irresponsible driver.

And for the race stewards to take 20 laps to decide on the drive through penalty is really a scandal.  Wonder if it would be the same if Adrian Sutil had done it in his Force India! Come on Bernie, show some guts.

And FIFA is even worse – 1st with the non allowance of Lampard’s Goal for England

and then with the offside goal of Argentina and on the same day to boot (no pun intended).


(psst, psst, did you notice the ‘Satyam’ ad behind? coincidence?)

Personally I’ve never been a lover of Latin American teams since they’re unconcerned about their illegal hand of god or using biceps to score.

Grow up Sepp, join the iphone generation.

Now that I’ve let off steam, I can get on to the issue of decontrol of oil prices in coming days.
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Football's Jabulani versus Cricket's Kookaburra

Every FIFA World Cup I’ve watched on TV (4 now) have seen the introduction of a new match ball -  including Jabulani.  It has been hailed as ‘the perfect ball’ by FIFA.

But every such new ball has been accused of being ‘not good’ by the WC qualifiers - because the new ball behaves slightly different from the footballs they are used to.

So the 'perfect ball' introduced at the world cup is termed 'different'.  Till the next World Cup when another new ball is termed 'different' and the same ball which was different 4 years back becomes 'perfect'.

But my take is different.  What if ICC follows the policy of FIFA (apart from the ongoing controversy of non compliance of BCCI with WADA code) and introduces a new cricket ball for every ODI World Cup?

The Indian players have been whinging about Kookaburra ball whenever they tour Australia; what would it do to them if this policy is adopted?

I leave it to you.

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The Lion is back and he is terrifying

The best thing about friends jetting out to US/Europe often is the hand-me-down novels they pickup to read.  Thus I got hold of the latest Nelson DeMille novel ‘The Lion’ a direct sequel to ‘The Lion’s Game’ (2000).

The terrifying Assad Khalil is back with a vengeance (pun intended) and John Corey is as sarcastic, flippant & loveable as ever.  The story line is great and though we’ve had a dose of Khalil and his M.O. in the 1st book, he still manages to frighten, stun and surprise us.

A great novel from DeMille to enjoy the weekend with, especially when thunder and lightning are out and hot tea and samosa at hand.
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Tennis on cricket channel & I love it

Am hour back, I was talking to my nephew about England and USA qualifying in FIFA WC and my N commented on the fact that STAR Cricket channel was showing Wimbledon.

The conversation went like this:
me:  what else do you expect?
N: Unc, tell them (STAR Cricket) that it is hilarious – a channel with ‘cricket’ in its name, broadcasting Tennis!
me: what else can happen.  There are 2 FIFA WC matches at same time and TRP matters.
N: But, a channel with ‘cricket’ in its name, broadcasting Tennis!
me:  come on, nephew, most of India must be watching football now, not cricket or tennis.
N: Even then, a channel with ‘cricket’ in its name, broadcasting Tennis!

So it went on for about 10 minutes,till we both agreed that when the FIFA WC is on, people watching cricket are NOT sports lovers… they’re unknowing beings who can’t understand anything more than cricket.

Reminds me when I told off a cricket official about 10 days back, not to talk to me of cricket till July 11th.  That I think is the last word.

BTW did you notice the word play?  ‘Unknowing beings’ is another *polite* way of saying ‘idiots’ isn’t it?
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UIDAI database is ‘You Die’ database

Indian Railways is interested in using the Unique ID Authority of India database in key areas, including ticketing.  And UIDAI Chairman is very happy about it.

OMG! there should be some limit to self-justification.  In their anxiety to prove that UID can be used productively, the UIDAI authority is willing to allow access to its database to one of the most scam infested organisation of India.

Even a school boy knows about the scam in ticketing, going on for donkey’s years, where fictitious names are used to book tickets in advance by touts and then sold at premium to passengers.  Now these touts have become tech-savvy; they use special software with database (database! hey, isn’t it what we are talking about?) to book tickets within minutes of the opening of ticketing counter.

Some even suggest that touts book tickets in collusion with the Railway software staff couple of minutes in advance of the opening of the counter.

And the fraud in the IR system is not at just junior or even middle management.  It appears that even the top brass are involved in scams.  The latest is RRB exam scam where the Chairman of Railway Recruitment Board, Mumbai and his cohorts including his son are alleged to have taken Rs. 350,000/- (~$7,500) per person and leaked the question paper of the upcoming recruitment exams – not from one or two guys, but at least 444 of potential recruits.

And Nandan Nilakeni is willing to hand over the database to a nest of such crooks.

What’ll happen you ask?
A lot say I.

Next time another David Coleman Headley comes calling, he doesn’t have to use his name to travel around.  Just get the nearest railway tout to select a suitable UID for him.  Thus when one is sitting at home and blogging away, a Hedley uses the blogger’s UID to travel from Mumbai to Delhi and set off a *scare*.  And the police are going to go chasing after the blogger.

I know that if Nandu boy ever reads this, he’s going to rear up on his hind legs and howl “Can’t happen”.  Remember the Dubai false passport killings in January, anyone?
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From Russia with love To Bruce Almighty!

“I once did that to Gandhi; He didn’t eat for 3 weeks” says Morgan Freeman as God to Jim Carey as Bruce Nolan in Bruce Almighty (STAR movies 20 Jun 2010) in reply to Jim Carey’s “That 7 fingers.  Sort’a freaked me out”. 
Since that dialogue has passed the Indian Censor Board and has not attracted any criticism or protest over the years, I guess that as a nation, we have matured.  Contrast this with the name change that was forced on the Bond film ‘From 007 (Russia) with Love’.  A real improvement, what say! Smug
But if laughing at puns like these are the criteria, what will the Bafana Bafana do, if suppose Freeman had said “I once did that to Mandela; He went into isolation for 3 weeks” Thinking
And what the following 3 baddies will do?
God: “I once did that to Kim Jong il; he was letting off rockets for 3 months”  or
God: “I once did that to Chavez; he was kept smelling sulphur for 3 months” Devil or
God: “I once did that to Ahmadinejad; he was passing gas for 3 months” Praying
What ever else they’ll do, they’d probably arrest or detain me if I venture anywhere near them Worried
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If Ministers won’t raise to occasion, Prices will

As I had questioned earlier, there is no justification for price rise on petro products in India.  We would always have some hustlers recommending it, after all they have to justify their existence – apart from hanky-panky, that is – but the questions are unanswered.

Some Ministers took the easy way out, by ducking out of the meeting; but the Oil Minister seems to be hell bent on increasing the prices and also decontrolling the whole mechanism.

Well, if Ministers won’t face the issue, Inflation rose to the occasion (no pun intended) and has put the GoI on a sticky wicket.  There are not many times I would raise my cup in salute to inflation, but this is one such time.
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Oil Minister out to flay us All

The Oil Minister has met the PM and has had discussion on fuel price hike on Saturday. The EGoM (Enhanced Group of Ministers) will be meeting today to decide the fate about fuel prices.  The reason?  It seems the Oil companies are losing money and the politicos’ hearts are bleeding blood (or oil) for them!

To read the reports, it is not only a one off decision to be taken, it is actually handing over the price fixing mechanism to these oil companies.

Now I don’t understand a couple of things:
  • The claimed loss of around Rs. 60,000 crores (~ USD 12.5 Billions) by Oilcos is currently borne by the GoI – the GoI reimburses the Oilcos from this revenue.
  • GoI derives its revenues from its citizens and “others” (remember there is also a revenue from individuals and organisations which are not Indian but pay taxes, duties, levies etc.- like Warren Buffet or Goldman Sachs & other FDI’s when they play in the share market, ESPN-STAR on their ad revenues et al)
  • To take it a step further, when a Paki in Pak watches IPL, or ‘kyun ki sass bhi bahu thee’, he pays taxes to GoI, through his broadcast rights procurer, doesn’t he ?
  • So effectively, HSBC or Citi or Google or Coke or even a Paki is paying say Rs. 48/- ($1) for my LPG cylinder – once in a month.
  • Now they want to transfer this ‘claimed’ loss on exclusively to the Indian Consumer – to you and me - and let off an alleged hanky-panky Rajat Gupta and Javed Miandad?
  • To top it, GoI owns almost 80% of these Oilcos – see the IOC’s share holding pattern - with the general public (you and me) owning less than 3% 
  • In effect 80% of this loss is borne by the GoI, through its promoters stake, and which it reimburses - reimburses itself from the right pocket to the left 
  • If this convoluted reimbursement disappears, what we, the consumers, actually pay is in effect ‘more tax’ – a form of direct tax, indirectly to the GoI - and a whopping 10% at that or is it 120% ? (say an increase of 10% on price of LPG cylinder at 1 cylinder pm)
  • In fact, profit by Government owned corporations is termed Hidden Tax.
  • Since tax collection by other means is always wasteful, a large part of this tax is not going to be available to the GoI to be spent on us.
  • Any fuel price hike will lead to inflation - not only us Indians but even Kiwis say so  - and our PM wanted to control inflation, just a week back last Monday.
  • Won’t the costlier LPG force people to opt for other means of cooking, like reverting to burning wood or coal and increase Asian brown cloud and its impact on Global Warming?  Knock Knock remember ‘climate change’ anyone?
Is there any saving grace at all ?  I do have hopes:
  1. Mamata Didi and the TN strongman are part of EGoM and they would be able to understand this instinctively – provided they deem to attend the meeting.
  2. The Fin Min Pranabda is the one lasting hope – he is a politician who is not easily taken in by some “technocrat’s” mumbo-jumbo like this.

Unfortunately, the PM considers himself a technocrat, forgetting he was just a bureaucrat and is easily taken in by these smoke and mirror talks.  Instead of above, can’t the GoI ask these Oilcos to cut overheads?  Can’t it be done?  Perhaps, I’ll have to take a look at that soon.
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Arundhati Roy – bitch-like more and more

The famed Ms. Roy has come out with a clarification that she didn't call Maoists as  'Gandhians with guns'.  But neither did she call them ‘Gandu’s (arseholes) with Guns’, did she?

Let’s read her statement – “Maoists are more Gandhian than any other Gandhian in their consumption pattern … their lifestyle,” & some more bull like that! 

One would think that only an arrogant, useless, egoistical, idiotic birch could make such statement – comparing Maoists and Gandhians.

I mean, just think – how do you compare
  • a follower of Mao (‘power flows from the barrel of the gun’)
  • a follower of Gandhi (‘power based on love is more effective than of fear’)
and call a Maoist is a Gandhian?

She’s right in one thing – Maoists are unlike Gandhian in their consumption – they are blood thirsty and Gandhi preferred goat milk.

And mind you, I did not call Ms. Roy “arrogant, useless, egoistical, idiotic birch “ – I just said that in my thinking only a person with such mindset can dare compare them.
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