Posts Tagged ‘India’

Been finding it interesting (more so intriguing) to note that after encountering efficient, non corrupt processes in countries like UK, the solutions for India from Indians here are still mostly on lines of:
‘shoot the leaders’,
‘Congress corrupt, BJP will bring ram rajya’,
‘Anna Hazare is the saviour’,
‘we need a dictatorship’ (which both the above options might easily deliver), my etc.

No one, not even the most intelligent, insightful IIM educated folk I’ve met / read, suggest what I find to be the obvious: ‘strong, independent government institutions’.

So, either I’m highly mistaken and misguided in my understanding, or most people I follow are getting something wrong.

If you think I’m wrong, would really like to hear your point of view, and feel free to skip everything below this. Just jump to comments.

The strength of western democracies isn’t derived from non-corrupt leaders (they are corrupt here too, just not in such an open manner), or from being led by a god anointed party or leader (highly religious states in eu do tilt towards higher corruption), or from a great leader who has lead them into a shining future.

The strength of western democracy is (IMHO) derived from its strong institutions – institutions which deliver what they are responsible for irrespective of government of the day, mood of the populace and mood of the boss. More importantly, institutions which, while consistently delivering their responsibilities, rarely over reach.

About time that we stopped thinking in terms of individuals and personalities, and started thinking in terms of institutions, organisations, structures and processes. Yes, it’s boring, it doesn’t let you (or anyone) be a hero. But, it delivers. Time, after time.


No Weekends

Posted: March 16, 2012 in Cycling, Family, Heart
Tags: , , ,

Just realised that after my latest commitments, I’ve got almost no free weekends available till, possibly, mid-May! Here’s how it’s looking:

Tomorrow (17 Mar) : Meet some friends for Brunch/Lunch + Watch Milan-San Remo
Sunday (18 Mar): Ride the Burgess Hill sportive (86 km / 53 miles version)

Sunday (25 Mar): Ride the Evans Cycles’ Woking sportive (144 km / 90 miles version)

Saturday (31 Mar): Ride the Tour of Flanders sportive (134 km / 83 miles version)
Sunday (1 Apr): Watch the Tour of Flanders in Flanders

Saturday (7 Apr): Get married to this girl
Sunday (8 Apr): Watch Paris-Roubaix

Saturday (14  Apr): Dinner party with her family and friends in Chennai

Saturday (21 Apr): Dinner party with my family somewhere in north India

Weekend (28-29 Apr): Start journey back to London

Weekend (5-6 May): Ride / Drive to Oxford / Brighton with friends

Weekend (12-13 May): Finally, hopefully free :)

This is a guest post by Dan, whom I met on twitter long before I moved to the UK.

A brief intro: He’s a Stoke City supporter (my interest in the gritty, little club is all his doing), a #properfootball fan (smaller the club, the better), a fellow test cricket lover (or #propercricket as he calls it – dying breed we are), lives in the Midlands and works in PR (I think).

About 6 months after I moved to London (more than an year ago), he wrote this blog post for me. I lost it immediately in the crazy mess that my inbox is, only to discover it recently while cleaning the Inbox in search of that elusive Inbox Zero goal I’d set myself for the week.

Now, that I’ve rediscovered it, and enjoyed a re-reading myself, here it is for all 2 of my readers to read and share. Starting with his intro:


A list of what I know about India. I eagerly await what you know about England : )

If facts about India were grains of sand on a beach my knowledge is the content of a sock after a brief stroll.

What I know about India

  • You woudn’t want to be an Indian cricketer if you lost to Pakistan.
  • Your parents would be planning your marriage before you were ten if you were a girl, a work colleague called Anuji assured me.
  • You wouldn’t want to be a regular commuter on the Bombay trains.
  • You wouldn’t want to say ‘Bombay’ to someone who knows it as Mumbai.
  • You wouldn’t want to be a blockage remover on the Bombay sewers. Or the Mumbai ones.
  • You wouldn’t want to be an Indian soldier at the cross border ceremony with a sore foot (there’s lots of stamping of feet.)
  • You’d love to see the sunset over the Gangees.
  • You’d love to drink Darjeeling in Darjeeling.
  • You’d love to while away a long train journey on an engine made in Stockton in 1883.
  • You’d be appaled at the squalor.
  • You wouldn’t want to sell goods on a train without a licence.
  • You wouldn’t want to hear my mate Steve from Northumberland tell the beggars to ‘go away’ when he was in India travelling.
  • You’d be in last chance saloon if you were an English lady who failed to find a husband on a visit to pre-war India.
  • You wouldn’t want to mess with a Sikh.
  • You wouldn’t want to mess with a Sikh with a gun.
  • You wouldn’t want to mess with a Sikh with or without a gun over the issue of the Amritsar massacre.
  • You’d be part of a vast army if you were an Indian graduate.
  • You’d have to learn about Eastenders if you worked in a calls centre.
  • You could have met my Grandpa who had just marched 1,000 miles through Burma if you were in Imphal in 1941.
  • You’d have to have been a crushing snob and mildly racist to have been an Englishman serving as a policeman in pre-Independence India.
  • You’d like to think if you were a Lancashire cotton worker you would have understood why Ghandi span his own cotton.
  • You’d be amazed at how few Stoke City fans there really are.
  • You’d be amazed at how good the curry is.
  • You’d be amazed that when English wicketkeeper toured India he took a suitcase of baked beans with him.
  • You’d love ‘Staying On’ by Paul Scott if you love India-set love stories about a couple who stayed on after Independence.
  • You’d love Bollywood films if you like dancing and singing.
  • You’d hate it if you didn’t like heat.
  • You’d love it if you’d like to experience different things.
  • You’d be amazed at the religions that stem from there.
  • You’d be amazed at how many soldiers fought for Britain in the last two wars.
  • You’d be ashamed if you knew how many were treated.
  • You wonder if it is the weather that brings Indians to Britain.
  • You’d be amazed at how Indians love cricket.
  • You’d be amazed at where Indians play cricket.
  • You’d wonder at how little I know of India and that what I know has come from books, cinema and telly.
  • And you’d not be surprised the furthest East I’ve been in the world is Switzerland.


A few quick thoughts on the mayhem after the Metallica concert in Delhi was cancelled postponed:

  1. Why was there no police or private security protecting the stage and equipment. From the video (embedded below), all I could see was a few spindly youth breaking all that equipment on stage – nothing that a dozen policemen and their canes couldn’t have controlled. More I think of it, more it sounds like someone – possibly a local politician or bureaucrat – wanted this to happen, and the police knew better than to interfere.
  2. Though I’m not a big music fan, I can understand what @b50 said:

    If I’d spent time, money and rock love to see this, there’s only one emotion – anger.

    What I can’t understand is why a country that prides itself for 5000 years of civilisation, hasn’t evolved a better method of channelling anger than violence? For a country that exported non-violence and yoga, aren’t these bouts of violence over smallest of issues becoming bit too frequent?

  3. Is the fact that violence broke out an outcome of our rotten legal system? In a functioning legal system, such an incident (last minute cancellation) would usually be countered with a class action suite, or similar. Is it that the common Indian has so little faith in the legal system that they prefer instant, violent justice rather than take the organisers to court?In fact this point works both ways. The people who broke that stage knew that the legal system is so weak that probability of them ever being prosecuted for it is remote, hence the cost of doing it so little to themselves.

Any more thoughts?

Over at the dailypost blog, the question for yesterday’s post (I’m running a day behind) was:

If you had your own reality show, what would it be called? What would it be about? Who would the main characters be?

I use to be a regular watcher of MTV Roadies back in India but haven’t picked up any reality show here. Never got interested in any other shows back home either so not sure I am qualified to do this. However, since I accepted the challenge, I’ll try to throw a couple of ideas I have.

The first idea for a reality show that I have is around conflict resolution. Let’s call it ‘Survivor – in peace or in pieces’. It’d be about inserting specific people into the conflict situations that they have strong views about. For instance, certain BJP & VHP politicians would be made to live in and do night patrols around Sopore, Baramullah, Anantnag, Srinagar and Shopian. For company they can take along a selection of their senior party functionaries. In exchange, the soldiers they replace will be allowed to live in their bunglows, be driven around in their cars and, say, attend parliament on their behalf. This would be run, without breaks, for at least a summer. End of the summer, surviving members will exchange back their places.

Writing this, I’ve even got ideas for follow-up seasons. Select a handful of common youth who’ve been identified in the stone throwing actions in Kashmir and let them live their wish for a few months. Send half of them to live like common folk in, say, Karachi where they can choose to align themselves with the militia of their choice – Mojahir, Pashtun or Baluch. The other half will be sent to live in the sinful heart of a kafir India – Bombay.  Preferably living in a gujju hindu society with strict ban on consumption of meat. They get to live the life they have so come to hate and disdain. Like in the first season, the survivors, willing or not, will be then brought back at end of season.

For the third season, we go international. Ms. Palin, Mr. Beck and people selected on a call-in show hosted by him will be shipped off to a village in Marjah to defend US interests and protect the Afghan civilians. In their stead, a detachment of US soldiers will be allowed to enjoy the hospitality provided to Fox’s finest. In exchange, select leaders of Pakland’s ISI, TeT and LeT will visit the US on an exchange program. One of them will serve as an understudy to Rev. Terry Jones while suffering the mild temperatures in good old California. Another will be sent to work on a Christian outreach program in, say, Texas. And the remaining would be made to run guns and illegal aliens across the Arizona-Mexico border. Should be fun. Of course, end of season, survivors (willing or not) return back to their home locations.

For further seasons, we could transplant some CPM/CPI/Maoist leaders to a few mines in North Korea, send Mr. Ahmedinejad to live in a settler township in West Bank, some settler leaders could be relocated to Janjaweed infested villages in Darfur, ex-BP CEO would live and work in an oil spill, Chevron/Conoco/Exxon leadership may be made to work on oil fields in Iraq (without security cover), Japanese whaling-fleet workers be set out on little dinghies in southern Pacific (with bits of flesh tied at bottom) and Steve Bucknor could be made to live in a cricket-crazy slum in Bandra.

I had another idea for a reality show but this one is already into 3 seasons and going strong, so I guess I’ll stop here. :)


Our Tricolour

Based as it is on dialogue, compromise, reciprocity and accommodation, the idea of India does not appeal to those who seek quick and total solutions to human problems.

Interesting, though long, essay by Ramchandra Guha on the state of our nation.

I don’t agree with everything he states and dislike his use of certain cliches and extrapolation of possibly unique events, but overall, the essay does carry itself. In a way, the essay is also a reflection of how, and where, the modern, urban Indian citizen looks at himself and his country’s problems.


So asks Scott today.

Not sure I can share all the plans here, but here’s a list.

  1. Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to visiting the Bike Expo at Excel Center. Also, try and get a ride around their MTB and City cycling tracks.
  2. Tomorrow or day after, I look forward to visiting the Ice-Sculpting festival at Canary Wharf. Will also like a shot at their free 20min hands-on ice sculpting classes :)
  3. Rest of the weekend, there’s 3 things I’m hope to attend to – the jigsaw (still at friend’s place), ice-skating (finally?) and lazying around.
  4. Next week, I’m looking forward to the 2nd round of interviews at one firm and hopefully hearing something positive from the other one.
  5. Later this month, I look forward (eagerly) to returning to cycling with the Inquisitive.
  6. Later this quarter, I look forward to finally buying a new road bike. Current contender is Trek 2.1 but would love other recommendations.
  7. Also this quarter I hope to finish my half of this pile of books
  8. Early next quarter, I look forward to visiting India for a short while – been missing family & friends a bit too much.
  9. Over the summer, I look forward to visiting Scotland and Netherlands & Belgium at least. If I’m lucky, even visit France and see a stage, or more, of TdF :)
  10. Sometime this year, Rags and I may even sign the register and give a socially acceptable name to our relationship.
  11. Also, this year I look forward to cycling London-Oxford-London, London-Paris-London, The Great Glen Route and, hopefully, LEJOG
  12. And towards end of the year, I look forward to finishing my unbroken 365-day streak of post-a-day posts ;)

So there, that’s a brief of what I look forward to this year. What are you looking forward to this year then? Do share some.