Impressions 'n Expressions

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life is when dreams are surrendered to reality.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Do you think England will go ahead with the Test match in Mumbai?

"What did they tell you?" screamed the woman.
"they told us to stay inside and lock the door and not make too much noise".
"What did you hear?" she of the screaming voice, still screaming.
"My neighbour told me he heard gunshots".
"What did they tell you exactly?"...scream was turning into a shriek.
"You see, in the interview I gave to your Hindi channel, NDTV Hindi, I had mentioned..."

This is 'live' reporting during the standoff between the perpetrators of yet another attack in the country. The screaming voice was some bitch on NDTV talking to someone holed up in the interiors of the Taj...while the other voice is someone who is giving interviews even while he is hiding in one of the rooms. This is the Indian news media during what is one of the worst attacks of terrorism on the State.

Enough has been said and written about what is happening now and yes it is sad. But what do we take out of this?

It is not as if terrorism is new to India. The ATS chief, who was among the tragically killed, had in fact met various security agencies in the past couple of months to ensure that security was beefed up in all offices and establishments across Mumbai, but beyond the cursory checking of baggages at the entrance...was there any seriousness involved. Even major hotels like The Taj, The Trident or the ITC group of hotels, which are the the places foreign delegates and dignitaries usually stay was sadly lacking in even basic security measures. The major railway stations in most cities are soft targets even now.

It took more than nine hours for the NSG to be deployed when for all intents and purposes it is said they can be ready in a few minutes. The army was on the scene within a few hours, but there definitely seems to have been a lack of authority. Not withstanding the number of attacks in the country this year, there has been a marked lack of policies, and protocols defined or factored to handle emergencies like these. Rather than proactively assuage security consideration across major cities we are, as usual, reacting to the emergency situation.

As usual, with the media in the forefront, we are going to start the blame game over who started it and who trained these misguided group. As usual, we are going to start talking about Pakistan's involvement. As usual, we are going to go to town about how politicians are goin to use this incident to further their own interests. As usual, the spirit of Mumbaikars, or any other city unlucky to be targeted, is going to be bandied about. As usual, the media is going to shove the mikes on the faces of armchair critics and non-entities like bollywood celebs, the Shoba Des and the Alyque Padamsees and allow them to voice their incredulous anger about how the country is being fucked up by politicians. As usual, we will have to listen to the santimonious screamings from the Barkha Dutts and the Arnab Goswamis who spltter words from their mouths that barely hides their glee in the rise of the TRP should hear Arnab Goswami utter a million times, "...another hostage has been killed. You heard it first on your news channel...Times Now." FUCK.

I agree, the politicians cannot be absolved of the crime in not being prepared. There has been knee-jerk reactions to incidents like these and yet nothing concrete is being done to have a plan to deal with it. We can't stop terrorism. It will be there as long as there is socio-economical or socio-political divide existing in this world...what we can do is to try and be prepared, so that the next time something like this happens...there will be a semblence of sanity in how it is being managed.

"Do you think England will go ahead with the Test match in Mumbai?"
This one was a gem from CNN-IBN a few hours into the attack.

Where was a stray bullet when we really need one?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bailouts in a free-market economy

It’s ironical...suddenly the proponents of free market and capitalism want State intervention and support. Till yesterday they were shouting hoarse about governmental regulations hampering growth and development and today we have them lined up asking for bailouts.

When you see Banks and Investment firms across the world falling like proverbial nine pins…the solidity of the nationalized Banks in India bears a testimony to the banking regulations in our country. Of course cash flow has been affected by the global recession, but the Reserve bank of India who prescribes guidelines for banking operations within which the country's banking and financial system functions has ensured that the fundamentals of our banking norms as established in its objectives are strong enough to weather the global economic gloom. The Reserve Bank of India who formulates, implements and monitors the country’s Monetary Policy ensures that liquidity is maintained in the economy and banks in the country do not have to go the Citigroup way.

One of the primary reasons why banking systems across the globe failed was…greed. ‘Greed is good’, a buzz phrase in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, was seized upon as the mantra upon which the Investment Banks were operating and their haste to make a quick buck from an economy that was already showing signs of having reached boiling point short circuited global economy. The effect of their rash decisions did not rest within the financial sector but percolated down to other sectors…primarily the auto and textile industry and sent the world spiraling into recession.

One of the sector that was crying out the loudest in India for deregulation was the airline industry and they are the one’s who are screaming for handouts to sustain themselves. But wasn’t one of the primary principle of free-market capitalism competition and profit maximization, where creating a sustainable entrepreneurial enterprise is determined solely by the operation of a market economy that is beyond the ambit of a central economic planning. The King of Good Times is certainly not flying high right now…

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Farewell dada...

Indian cricket will not be the same again. It may go on to become the best cricket playing nation in the world and shatter all the records there is...but history will remember that it was Saurav Ganguly's young Indian team that paved the way and started the journey. It was the confidence of one man and the belief he instilled in his team members that resulted in transforming Indian cricket forever.

Farewell dada...and thank you for the music.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trust and faith

Recently I was forced into a situation - of my own making, I should say - to seek an understanding into the concept of truth, trust and the real world.

What is truth?

What is trust?

A dictionary might define truth as a conformity with some fact or reality. But what if reality itself is a perception that cannot be defined in anything but an abstract sense? Does truth still hold a valid and objective definition? Truth is supposed to be enlightening, but how then does it stand to reason when truth blurs the distinction between fact and reality. There are people who believe everything real to be a fact and vice versa...but how true is this assumption?

I have always believed that truth can only be subjective. Kurosawa's Rashomon, one of the pinnacles of cinema making tried to explore the objectivity of truth. Without trying to really find an answer, Kurosawa managed to show us that truth cannot be objective. The very loose nature of truth depends on the context to which it is attached.

I guess its just me and the way I look at life that precludes me from finding any real meaning to truth. This is also maybe because somewhere deep inside, the cynic in me has ruled out anything substantive to the meaning of truth. Today, truth is another word, to be used to further our needs...our pursuits. Truth is one more weapon in our arsenal to be used any which way we want. It can be bent, twisted, shortened, lengthened and altered to be the key that unlocks the door that stands in our way.

Perhaps, long ago when it was meant something, but now, the necessity of surviving in a world that is increasingly becoming a metaphor for the Darwinian principle that espouses 'survival of the fittest', truth has come to represent our crutch.

Truth has lost its meaning - if ever there was one. Today its easier to say I have faith in God than I trust you.

Yesterday truth was one of our guiding beacons. Today it's trust. Tomorrow it will be faith.

How long will it be before faith itself gets corrupted.