Sunday, December 26, 2010

Is Indian Politics no place for the well educated?

“Why don't grads from our top notch edu instt get into Politics? Asks @ShashiTharoor in his article in The Week. Now there's a thought.”

This tweet of mine was re-tweeted by Shashi Tharoor and led to a huge response from about 30-40 people, in less than 10 hours!

The responses ran across the entire spectrum of thoughts. From expressing disgust at the framework and structure of Indian Politics, to the desire to participate in the process, but being unable to do so - albeit, because of the structure!

It seems there are a large number of educated youth out there who are genuinely interested in good Governance (Nation building, actually)!

They are intimidated by the fact that entering Politics means giving up their present (and, probably lucrative) career, being presented with an uncertain future, sucking up to the 'powers-that-be', dealing with hoodlums, thugs and goondas, being labelled (and themselves, becoming) corrupt and all the negativity surrounding Politicians today.

This makes it a complete No-No for 'aspiring' youngsters. As a result, we are losing out on benefiting from a wealth of ideas that can change the way we live!

This is unacceptable.

To change this, we must understand that the first step is to get rid of the 'chalta hai' attitude. We must be aware of this problem and acknowledge that the solutions are available, do-able, but would take time and a persistent approach.

First, grass-root level education is where we need to start. Ensuring that a solid, ethical foundation is built is getting a good headstart. We do not really need very highly educated post-graduates and double-graduates only, for this job.

Second, the political framework needs to be able to allow new people (read: people with no 'family' connections) to be given a reasonably level playing field to enter into the fray. A simple barometer to measure this is the success that such people have had - so if there are a few examples, this, should suffice!

Third, we should have a strong judiciary to ensure that if there are any transgressions, these are actioned upon quickly and firmly - impartially, at least to the extent possible. The judiciary needs to be strengthened at the grass-root level. The common man seeks justice at the Sessions Court level, he cannot wait for his matter to reach the Supreme Court and then be granted justice! He wouldn't survive that long!

Finally, while we go about doing this, we must make a start. We must ensure that the youth start getting involved. There HAS to be a sense of ownership and involvement - even if it is on a smaller scale. But the youth HAVE to be involved in Governance.

We seem to have forgotten what history teaches. Every country goes through a major change (revolution, would be a wrong word here) only when a majority of the youth have been involved. It is THEY who need the change, ask for it and go about getting it. Let me make one thing clear - when I say 'youth', I really mean those who are in their 20s and 30s!! Not like what some of our politicians would like us to believe - a 'young' politician according to them is below the age of 50!!!

I have noticed that it is the urban youth who are more disconnected than the rural youth. It is these boys and girls in the cities who believe that they can let the 'dirty work' be left to 'others'! Well, they should realize that if they do not take active part in governance, it will be sone other (probably, uneducated, sycophant) who will be making the Law that he/she will need to live by!!

The need of the hour is action - on the ground level. We have enough of arm-chair philosophers, activists, bloggers, tweeters and the like!

Let's go out and, if nothing else, just file at least ONE RTI or DO some good for Society. Let's make a start. I've made one, myself. You can do it too. A small one. At our level. Keeping it simple.

In time, with our persistence, we will see the change.

- Well ... and that's how I feel...
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Testing BlogPress for iPad

I have typed this using BlogPress for iPad. Just wanted to see if it appears on Blogger and Wordpress at the same time!

- Well...and that's how I feel... (Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Conflicting Proverbs and Idioms

As a child, in School, I was quite confused about quite a few things that we were taught! I guess that came with the territory. However, there is one part that bothers me even today and that is the part about conflicting Proverbs, Idioms and oft used phrases.

Since I really haven't been able to 'resolve' is, I thought I may as well pen this down (does anyone even use this phrase anymore?) for you all to see - and, if possible, help me to figure it out!

Here are a few of them that really have me confused!

1. We are often told to LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP, but isn't it also true that PROCRASTINATION IS THE THIEF OF TIME?


3. It is true that if we stay away from something for too long it is natural that ABSENCE MAKETH THE HEART GROW FONDER, yet it is known that FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT.

4. While OPPOSITES ATTRACT, we are also taught that it is always BIRDS OF A FEATHER WHO FLOCK TOGETHER!




Well, these are the few that have me (still) confused - and If my School English teacher is reading this, she'd wonder how come I got 91% in the 10th!

If you think of any more such conflicting ones, please feel free to comment and write in - so while we can AGREE TO DISAGREE we can still BE ON THE SAME PAGE :)

Well ... and that's how I feel ...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Eulogy of Sangeeta Ohri, my mother

This is the text of the Eulogy delivered at the Special Mass for our mother, on Fri, Oct 1 at Holy Cross Church, Kurla West, Mumbai. My elder brother, Sanjay, said this on behalf of the two of us...

Good Evening,

On behalf of our family, we would first like to thank everyone for taking the time out to attend this mass and pay your last respects to our mother and would just like to share a few words about her.

In addition to being a good mother, she was also our friend and guide with a very caring disposition and great courage. That one word "courage" was evident throughout her life because when she was born, her father had already passed away and when she was only 6 months old, her mother passed away. She was raised by her grandmother who had a positive influence on her life.

During her school years, she was active in dramatics, sports and dancing. For those who remember, in Thane,  she was also known as the "Galyan Sakhli" girl. Courage again surfaced when she had a love marriage with my father but against all odds, she raised us with the best of education, upbringing and values.

She was a very caring person and her style of showing appreciation and care was unique. It was this care that enabled her to look after handicapped, preschool and underprivileged children for almost 40 years selflessly (all volunteer work) in the capacity of a being a principal, organizer, teacher and mentor. She often referred to the kids she worked with as "my children" and she was well-loved by their families as well.

She was very humble when she received many awards for her social service and community work, including a recognition in Who's Who in the World / America / American Women (for the last 10 years) and an Award for Women's Welfare. But being a grassroots worker, she preferred to involve herself in her work quietly than seek any merit or publicity.

If one were to list her accomplishments, we would be here a long while and some of it included training teachers, conducting global workshops, seminars, conferences, courses in education and rehabilitation of normal/handicapped children, as well as underprivileged persons.

Some of the organizations she was associated with (and was an active member) were S.E.C. (Society for the Education of the Crippled) Day School, I.A.P.E. (Indian Association for Pre-school Education), B.C.J. General Hospital (Santa Cruz), All India Balkan-ji-Bari, Bombay Vigilance Association, O.M.E.P., Soroptomist International, YWCA, Poona Women's Council and many more.

Having lived in India and the USA for many years, she was an excellent communicator (fluent in over 7 languages) and had a sense of great understanding of different cultures and always served as a role model for  those who needed help in bridging the gap between East and West. She was a great cook as some of you know and it gave her great happiness to feed people. Needless to say, she was a very helpful person and if you ever needed help and turned to her, she would never refuse anyone.

She wore her heart on her sleeve and if she liked anything, she shared it with everyone and if she didn't like anything and she loved you, she felt it was better to tell you things that you need to know for your own good! But she never gave up her caring spirit till the end - which again surfaced when she was at Lourdes and she was so happy at being able to make this pilgrimage that she lit a candle for each of you that she knew and also prayed for all departed souls.

In the few days after she passed away, there were French, Italian and English masses offered in Lourdes at various churches by different international groups (including the Lourdes' hospitality organization that manages all the shrines at Lourdes). On October 17th, the Vatican has approved the canonization of Brother Andre to be a saint (he's the one who started the St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal – it’s the largest cathedral in North America). On that day in Rome, during his canonization to be a Saint, the mass will be offered in memory of our mother.

It's probably these silver linings that we can force ourselves to accept the reason of her departure from this world and we believe that she is in eternal healing of Our Lady of Lourdes. Maybe, God, destiny and Mom herself would not have had it any other way.

May her soul rest in peace and God give us all the strength to handle this irreparable loss. Incidentally, Mom made it a point that people never went hungry when they came to meet her, so today in spirit she has ensured the same. Please join us for some light refreshments after mass.

Thank you once again for all your support and God bless.

Friday, August 20, 2010

CWG 2010 - The Mess

There has been enough in the media, over the past few days, about the scams and the irregularities in the arrangements and preparations for the Games.

Relax. I am not going to enumerate any of those here, again. These are already being repeated, ad nauseam, in endless loops on select TV channels.

The point I would like to make is that this is not the first time that we have organised a major event. While I can understand that, as individuals, we are not consistent in learning from past experiences; it is shameful that as a NATION, we lack those skills!

The most important aspect of this situation is to DOCUMENT and LEARN from this entire experience.

These learnings must be made SHARED with the public, not from a perspective of sensationalising the scam, but from a perspective of ensuring that we have documented each mistake made, just so that we do not make it again.

Also, in order to ensure that we do not end up in such a situation again (or at least minimise such instances), we MUST PUNISH those who have found to have WILLFULLY committed such excesses.

Sending a strong message to all those who try to repeat this - that something like this will NOT be tolerated and will be dealt with severely.

Well, and that's how I feel....

Monday, August 02, 2010

Simple Solutions for Kashmir

While everyone has a variety of reasons for the situation in Kashmir - and will swear by those. There are very few offering practical solutions.

I'm sure they DO know what are the possible options, but the prospect of implementing them seems daunting.

Well, like most others, I also have a 'solution' to easing the situation in the beautiful valley (I haven't been there yet!)

1. Get all the Politicians out of there - actually this is true for most 'troubled' areas :)

2. Get the Special Forces only to protect/guard the Border (ok, L.O.C.)

3. Equip the local Police with state-of-the-art Technology & Tools to protect the common people.

4. Promote industry - with a vengeance.

5. Set up Educational institutions - Primary to University.

Do this for 5 years and I can guarantee you this situation will 'dissolve'.


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Non-English Number plates - allowed?

I'm sure the RTO act does not permit License Number plates in any other language, other than in English. I recall reading a newspaper article where an RTO official had mentioned that they 'could not find' any such violation.

Well, here's one!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

From heat wave to flash floods

We seem to be having extreme weather across the country. First there was an extreme bout of heat wave - with temperatures reaching 51 degrees C!

And here we are, less than 2 weeks later and we have news of the same cities & their neighbourhood area being submerged by flood waters!

The worst part of the situation is that the people have NO CLUE of what the weather is going to be like! We're still a country that's so dependent on the monsoon and yet we cannot get our weather forecast right!

Posted via email from Well... and that's how I feel...!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

India's T20 World Cup Team

India's Twenty20 world Cup probables list has been announced. Check this list:
  • MS Dhoni - Jharkhand
  • Virender Sehwag - Delhi
  • Gautam Gambhir - Delhi
  • Suresh Raina - UP (?)
  • Praveen Kumar - UP
  • Ashish Nehra - UP
  • Piyush Chawla - UP 
  • Harbhajan Singh - Punjab
  • Yuvraj Singh - Chandigarh
  • Yusf Pathan -Gujarat
  • Ravindra Jadeja - Gujarat
  • Zaheer Khan - Maharashtra
  • Rohit Sharma - Maharashtra
  • R Vinay Kumar - Karnataka
  • Dinesh Karthik - Tamil Nadu
Has anyone noticed how there are so many players from North India?
I don't want to take away any credit from those selected, even though some of them are 'injured' and their inclusion is really questionable. Not that I'm bigoted or racist, but I recall there used to be a time when players from West Zone and South Zone were almost dominating the India cricket scene.

If the logic for selection is recent performance, it can be inferred that teams from the North should have won all the Domestic cricket events - but is that so?

Check the winners of the past 12 months...
West Zone beat East Zone in Deodhar Trophy
TN beat Bengal in Ranji Trophy Final
Rest of India beat Mumbai in Irani Cup

But I guess these Selector chaps know more about cricket than I do - so I should just shut up and do my own thing, eh?

BTW, I've decided to make my posts shorter, so I can do this more often :)

Well ... and that's how I feel ... 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hindi Proverbs and their English Equivalents

This effort is a result of a discussion, my family had on the breakfast table. My daughter kept swinging her leg, which kept banging into mine and then I turned around and said .. "Sau sonaar ki, ek lohaar ki."

This started off a discussion of what it meant and whether there was an equivalent of this, in English. Which led me into a hunt for more English equivalents of Hindi Proverbs. I've taken the liberty of spelling out all Hindi words in English. I hope you get it right the first time .. or at least, the second!

Disclaimer: I'm no expert on either Hindi or English, so if you notice errors, please go right ahead and point them out!

I searched the Internet to find lists of Hindi proverbs and English proverbs and then sat down and tried to correlate them. The following list is what I came up with. As I said, I'm no expert - but I'm happy with the effort. Hope you enjoy reading this.
  • Khatte angoor - Sour grapes (also, literally)
  • Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swad - Casting pearls before swine 
  • Dal mein kaala - More to it than meets the eye 
  • Naach na jaane, aagan tedha – A poor worker blames his tools
  • Jale par namak chidakna - Rubbing salt on one’s wound (almost, literal)  
  • Door ke dhol suhavane lagte hain – The grass seems greener on the other side  
  • Aage kuan peeche khaee – Between the devil and the deep sea  
  • Garajne wale badal baraste nahin hain – Barking dogs seldom bite  
  • Jitnee lambi chadar ho utna hee pair failana chahiye – Cut your dress according to your cloth  
  • Ab pachatae kya jab chidiya chug gayi khet – No use crying over spilt milk  
  • Anth bhala to sab bhala – All’s well that ends well (almost, literal)  
  • Taali ek haath se nahin bajti – It takes two to quarrel  
  • Jahan chaah wahaan raha – Where there’s a will, there’s a way (almost, literal)  
  • Doodh ka jala chaas bhi phook-phook kar peeta hai – Once bitten twice shy  
  • Jaisa desh, vaisa bhes – In Rome do as the Romans do  
  • Ek myaan mein do talawaren nahi samaati – No man can serve two masters  
  • Khotta chana baje ghana - Empty vessels make more noise 
By the way, I never did find the equivalent of "Sau sonaar ki, ek lohaar ki"!!

Feedback? ...Bouquets? Brickbats? Well, bring 'em on :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Few Good Men (& Women)

I've always been a great fan of Music of the 1980s - let me clarify - ENGLISH music of the 80s. However, I also do like some numbers from the 70s and 60s as well.

For some (unknown, to me) reason, the music of this era is called RETRO. Retro as in Retrospective or Retrograde, is something I still haven't figured out!

I'm definitely not an expert or an authority on music of that era. Neither was I really 'into' the music scene when in school.

It's just that as I passed through those "Wonder Years" (great serial, by the way), each song got 'associated' (like a hyperlink or metatag) with some incident of my life. Most of them, I cherish, but I do also have a lot of forgettable ones, too. Nevertheless, the hyperlinks were established and the songs brought back memories - good, or otherwise, with equal propensity.

In those days, we just had Audio Tapes (I see a lot of young readers going, "Dude, you're O.L.D.") - and we used to run those select few tapes back and forth so many times, that the sequence got cast in stone too!

Till date, if I hear "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson, I expect the next song to be "Stomp" by The Brothers Johnson, followed by "And The Beat Goes On" by The Whispers!

Well, now we have CDs, DVDs, Pen Drives, iPoDs and a host of other equipment to hear songs from. All is not lost for us 'oldies' - as a lot of the old songs (Retro!) are finding their way back! I've managed to 'find' quite a few of my fav numbers on the Internet.

Life had done a full circle (or so I would like to believe). Then again, it has a way of being surprisingly and refreshingly topsy-turvy.

Just as I 'subjected' my kids to my choice of music - it's now their turn. They've grown up and have turned the tables on me. I am now exposed to a host of new music.

This post is about some of the current ones, doing the rounds - in my house at least - which I really like. My current 'playlist' (see, I'm beginning to get the lingo right too!) consists of:
  • Kelly Clarkson (Already Gone)
  • Jay Z feat. Alicia Keys (Empire State of Mind)
  • Lady Gaga (Poker Face, Just Dance, Paparazzi, Eh Eh Nothing Else I Can Do)
  • David Guetta (When Love Takes Over, Delirious)
  • Black Eyed Peas (Boom Boom Pow, I Gotta Feeling)
  • Akon (Right Now, Beautiful)
  • Ne Yo (Miss Independent)
  • Lady Antebellum (Need You Now)
  • Kate Perry (Hot n Cold
  • Lilly Allen (F*ck You) *gasp*
  • Agnes (Release Me)
  • Flo rida (Sugar)
'Nuff said - as the rappers say. This kind of list is a far cry from the kind of music I was accustomed to!

However, now I have a whole new set of hyperlinks and metatags being created - with lovely memories being associated with these numbers (however, ridiculous they may sound after a few years). Whenever I'm traveling and I hear these numbers, my thoughts go back to these memories.

And so the circle of life starts all over again ... listening to these Few Good Men (& Women) ...

Well ... and that's how I feel ...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Karthik Calling Karthik - My View

Just saw KCK today and I haven't even reached home, but here I am writing about it!

This is one of the few movies that I've seen so close to its release ..2nd day, 1st show! Quite surprised at my own eagerness to watch it. But that's how I am. I go by instinct, on such things.

For instance, I haven't yet seen 3 Idiots or Avatar - but didn't miss Luck By Chance & Love Aaj Kal (any coincidence they had Farhan & Deepika?)

Coming to KCK, I don't want to reveal the storyline (no spoilers, here!) - but its a nicely done movie. It has its fair share of laughs, thrills and meaningless (avoidable) moments.

My kudos to the Director, who actually got the audience to clap in the last shot - I was truly amazed!

The movie could have done away with about 10 minutes, making it crisper, but I don't know whose responsibility that is - the Editor's or the Director's.

I was really impressed with the acting.

Farhan is very, very believable in the role. His angst in certain scenes, esp when he breaks down and cries when on the phone, is truly classic.

Deepika - well, what can I say - this girl is growing on me. She caught my fancy in Love Aaj Kal and has done it again here. However, she's again cast as an independent minded woman - and is convincing. Her earnestness comes across genuinely.

I quite liked the music by Shankar Ehsan Loy. In particular, the music that plays while the opening titles appear, is particularly catchy. Incidentally, the titles are done quite innovatively, too!

Don't expect a love story (though it has its moments). Don't expect a laugh riot - its not a light movie, by any standards. Don't expect an outright thriller - even though there are more than a few times which will make you jump!

I don't think its worth a second watch, but I'd enjoy watching the DVD - and would definitely buy the Audio CD.

All in all, an enjoyable fare - as we say, 'paisa vasool'.

Twitter: sandeepohri

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

TEST from Mobile

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With warm regards,

Twitter: sandeepohri

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