Monday, March 19, 2007

World Cup Tragedy

I was going to write a post regarding my reminiscences of the past world cups but then I happened to read about the violence at Nandigram. I am quite ashamed to admit that I came across the story only four days post the tragedy, lost as it was in the cacophony surrounding the World Cup. As I read report after report of the event, I am filled with anguish about the needless loss of lives. Now the whole thing has degenerated into political one-upmanship with L K Advani reportedly comparing the incident to the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The only silver lining seems to be the progress that the CBI seems to have made in the case. Hopefully a semblance of justice and normality will be restored to the situation.

This also seems to be a big blow to any market reform initiatives in West Bengal, a state which has been under the long shadow of trade unionism for decades under the Jyoti Basu rule. Buddhadeb seemed to be the new hope and the man who many believed would steer the state into a future which it richly deserved. Now the Nandigram debacle will definitely ring loud and long for many state governments who would give a second thought before they promise land to private investors through the controversial SEZs. Already we see the Jharkhand government adopting a more cautious approach. Kamal Nath is right when he says that Nandigram should not be the reason why an investment policy should be debunked. Obviously the fault lies in the execution and not necessarily the policy itself (but that’s another debate).

There are learnings for India here as it rushes forward to meet its golden inevitable future. Unfortunately, the road is long and hard if our growth has to be inclusive, as it must be. I don’t mind, as long as it’s not littered with blood.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Killers- Read my mind

Came across this song online. You can view the video here (Some people think the lead vocalist resembles Freddie Mercury a bit). And if you don’t want to listen to my pathetic version on my guitar, you shouldn’t click here.

On the corner of main street
Just tryin' to keep it in line
You say you wanna move on and
You say I'm falling behind

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

I never really gave up on
Breakin' out of this two-star town
I got the green light
I got a little fight
I'm gonna turn this thing around

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

The good old days, the honest man;
The restless heart, the Promised Land
A subtle kiss that no one sees;
A broken wrist and a big trapeze
Oh well I don't mind, if you don't mind
Coz I don't shine if you don't shine
Before you go, can you read my mind?

It’s funny how you just break down
Waitin' on some sign
pull up to the front of your driveway
With magic soakin' my spine

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

The teenage queen, the loaded gun;
The drop dead dream, the Chosen One
A southern drawl, a world unseen;
A city wall and a trampoline
Oh well I don't mind, if you don't mind
Coz I don't shine if you don't shine
Before you jump
Tell me what you find when you read my mind

Slippin’ in my faith until I fall
He never returned that call
Woman, open the door, don't let it sting
I wanna breathe that fire again
She saidI don't mind, if you don't mind
Coz I don't shine if you don't shine
Put your back on me
Put your back on me
Put your back on me

The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun
When you read my mind

Sunday, March 04, 2007

When the going gets tough...

A friend of mine told me a bit of his story today. His dad lost almost all his wealth and spirit in an ill-fated venture into a restaurant business in the eighties while he was in school.

“I have been paying my own way since high school.”

He learnt typing and screen printing while he was in school.

“I worked four years as a night receptionist in a lodge in Bangalore while doing my engineering.”

He used to get up every day at 6 AM, catch the bus out to his college 29 kms. away. Come back at 4, sleep till 10 and work as a receptionist till 5 before it was time for a brand new day.

“Yeah, Sundays were off till the third year when we had to stay back for lab on Tuesdays.”

He earned extra money making ID cards for 3000 students of his engineering college students and staff. He charged Rs. 4 per card while it cost him 28 paise.

“It was good money”, he smiled.

Both of us are not the type who would naturally gravitate towards each as we have nothing in common. But in a foreign country one grabs whoever one gets, I guess. Just a couple of nights back I found myself opening up to another temporary but convenient ear and say things I haven’t told many.

Tough times teach us a lot and mould us in more ways than we realize. Keep them coming.