September 27, 2006

In The Line Of Fire In Quite A Mire ..

September 27, 2006 Posted by Vijay No comments
Mr. Pervez Musharraf (General) would have thought of not wetting his pants when he was threatened, albeit not at gun point by Richard Armitage. And so, he was all too willing to switch sides from the Taliban to the U.S of A. Through his autobiography, the general has apparently made these remarks, which he was only too willing to disclaim when he had the joint press conference with George Bush 2 days before the release of his book, "In the line of fire". That he declared it in a humorous way does not detract from the more dubious claims he has made in his book.

The book, released on September 25th, Monday in New York, goes on to claim that Kargil was in fact a victory for Pakistan. And in fact also states that the Kargil war in fact helped both the countries come to the negotiating table. Really, he is indirectly proclaiming that any acts of war or terror would be the main trigger to bring in the parties at war to negotiations. A really unwarranted statement he has made in his memoirs, which really seem to have been a mix of day dreams and nightmares. Nightmares of how Pakistan cannot cope with a strike by the U.S due to the lack of homogenity and because a strike by the U.S if not co-operative on terrorism would cripple the Pakistani economy badly forever. Clearly, he projected Pakistan as a fragile nation, not even capable of being united when being under attack. Sad statement considering that he is the general of the army staff. One wonders how on earth can the Pakistani public believe in such an individual ?

The general has also retracted from some astonishing revelations in his memoirs where he has mentioned that CIA officials in the U.S had paid millions of dollars in return for Al Qaeda suspects whom Pakistan had handed over to U.S.A. The general now, has said in an interview that such a thing was untrue and if it was part of the book, then these statements would have to be removed. Apparently the general says that the money was not given to the "government" per se , but the book clearly says so. Quite embarrassing for the general to say the least. What all this has helped though is the moolah he will rake in through the royalties which he will get. Since it is already in the top 10 best sellers, one should imagine the general would be able to live a monetarily happy life later on.

More significant remarks that the general has made are regarding his interactions with the incumbent Indian PM, Manmohan Singh. While he says that he got positive vibes from the Indian PM 2 years ago, the same seemed to be withering away, and he felt that the Indian PM needs to get more bold. Well, for a man who still claims the violence in Kashmir is apparently a freedom struggle and this was NOT the reason for the Agra Summit failure, such dithering is very problematic. More so for the Indian establishment, for one the one hand he says he is not confident of Manmohan Singh, but at the meeting on the sidelines of the NAM summit, he feels there has been a positive impact after the nearly one hour talk. Clearly, the general seems to have constant bouts of amnesia or is irrevocably delusive by nature. All said and done, his book will sell. And that is something for which he needs to be given credit for. As for his credibility itself, it has spiralled dramatically downwards.

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September 26, 2006

Lagey Raho's Loss Is India's Loss

September 26, 2006 Posted by Vijay 5 comments
I was quite surprised that a movie like Rang De Basanti (RDB) was chosen for the Indian entry into the Oscars for best foreign language film. Even the selected list of entries into the list of probables was a little bit surprising, the list which included Madhur Bhandarkar's Corporate and Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (KANK). Surprised because, being a multi million dollar Film Industry, India still struggles to get a decent entry into the Oscars. More than 800 films per year are being made by the Indian Film Industry and to know that there have only been 3 nominations in all these years is quite appalling. And, when Paheli was chosen as the Oscar nomination last year,everyone was flabbergasted.

Though this time around, there seems to be a consensus about RDB being chosen, I felt rather shocked, that a Lagey Raho couldn't make the cut. Jury members who selected the entrant RDB, say that since RDB has Aamir, who has had prior experience promoting Lagaan at the Oscars in 2002, can pull off the Oscar this time with RDB. One cannot but wonder, isn't Munnabhai M.B.B.S the first ever Indian movie to be remade in Hollywood ? With such a wonderful reputation that the Munnabhai series has begun with, Lage Raho would have had an even better chance I feel.

There are a lot of factors I feel, which go against RDB itself. It was in troubled waters initially when the defense establishment, wanting to have a free to watch movie, got to know that the film revolved around an Air Force pilot being killed in an MIG crash. The movie eventually got the clearance. But, when the youth are being led into believing that if a minister feigns ignorance for the bad MIG deals, and so can be can be assassinated by the youth whose friend was the pilot of the MIG, it is quite a dangerous precedent. With such an influential youthful population that India has, this can have disastrous repercussions. The positive aspects of the movie, is that it stands for the good, and wants the system to be in place, and rightfully so, without any corruption.

September 15, 2006

Why Indian Sport Struggles ...

September 15, 2006 Posted by Vijay 4 comments
Why does Indian sport struggle ? With a population of 100 crores, India still hails one Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore for just a single silver medal for a nation this big at the Olympics. It has been so for nearly sixty years now. And it is tough to see his getting better, unless India mends it's ways from emotionalism, sentiments and cult hero following.

That, I had to pull out these observations from a sport like cricket is expected, since it is one sport where India has done well, but that too only sporadically. For a sport which is not even in the Commonwealth Games, the whole of India roots. Not that there is anything wrong, but this shows the lack of fan following for any other sport ! And when Pankaj Advani gets the Khel Ratna ahead of a cricketer, the whole cricket fraternity, and even the whole of India, which knows only cricket, goes up in arms ! Really, quite disappointing to see the kind of monopoly that Indian cricket has over the entire Indian sporting arena.

Indian Hockey, being the national game, has been relegated to such a state, that when Indian cricket team sets out for a series which is not even like a World Cup, the hockey world cup gets only second priority. And when Indian Hockey, is in the doldrums, everyone starts bashing up the reputation of the team, but hails a Dhoni, a Yuvraj a Tendulkar, a Dravid in the Indian cricket team. Note the usage of the 'a' in the above sentence. That is what Indian cricket has come to be. A team full of stars,stars and stars, each of them blown out of proportion so much that they eat into whatever little reputation a hockey star could have had.

September 13, 2006

Blood Donation Camp At Brahmagiri

September 13, 2006 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
Such a title wouldn’t be what you would normally associate with a travelogue. But situations, circumstances made us involuntarily volunteering for a blood donation camp at Brahmagiri, where we attempted to go for a trek on the weekend which just went by. More details about this unusual nature’s own donation camp will be covered in the later part of this travelogue.

Bordering the Kerala Karnataka border, in the Coorg district is the Brahmagiri range. It is around 250 kms from Bangalore. To reach this place, one needs to catch a bus going towards Srimangala, via Gonikoppa. We (Suresh,Renjith,Alok, myself) took a Rajahamsa Executive bus booked for Friday night (8th September 2006) 11:00 p.m., going towards Kutta, which goes via Srimangala. The booking this time was wee better than the one which I had done for the Mullayanagiri trip, because, I did this one 6 hours earlier, but still just 2 days prior to the trip itself. Through the last week, we had spoken with the Forest Officer, Pramod (Ph: +919448813835) at Srimangala, to confirm our arrival at the place on Saturday morning.

The plans were extensive. It was to trek up to Narimalai, cover Brahmagiri on the same day, then camp there overnight, then trek to Narimalai/Munekkal Caves the next day (Pakshipaathalam in Kerala side of the range) and return back on Sunday evening. Such plans for camping needed preparations, atleast for food. For camping sake, we purchased Ready to Eat MTR foods, noodles and all. And we were all set to go by Friday night.

September 8, 2006

Essentially Troubled !!

September 08, 2006 Posted by Vijay , 3 comments
To realise that essentials are missing to be donned on a human body is quite an embarrassing situation to be in. It would have literally meant lo(o)sing control.That this calamitous turn of event had to happen to me, was something I had no idea was coming. I was dismayed and had no idea what to do, as the realisation dawned on me yesterday late into the night that all these so called essentials had to be washed, and I had no time whatsoever. The pile of clothes in the bathroom was proof that I probably would have to be essential-capped for today.

Though I did not have the time to stitch a new essential, I had to dig into some old sets of clothes and lo and behold, opened sesame !! There was ONE ! But just one mind you ! I understand that this post may not make for good reading for anyone, but the liberty a blog provides is something which I have always needed.That I donned this miraculously discovered essential today with no other alternative need not be further illustrated.

Now that I have to also embark on a 2 day trek tonight, with a bit of shopping and packing to do, makes it further more difficult to wash the essentials. That leaves me with no other option but to buy a brand new set of them, and not just one or two,maybe 3-4, since I will need one for Monday too, what say ??!!

N.B. For those who are not able to make out what I mean by essential, it is an underground bear hug, without the ground and the hug, but with a w instead of the b in the bear. Hope that makes some sense !!