Mumbai, Maximum city - What next?

I have been alone at home for the last 59 hrs and have been weeping
by myself. I feel outraged, sad, brutalized, shocked, gutted deeply with wounds and have many questions unanswered.

The Taj in so many ways signified my growing years in Bombay - was and is, a symbol of grace, dignity, magnificence which will rise from the ashes and will be rebuilt am sure!

Taj Mahal Colaba and the grand old lady VT station are our pride, beauty spots of global recognition. They have undeniably stood the test of time , weather, mal- usage, and reached heritage status today. Both these structures are set in the minds of everyone who belongs to the city, irrespective of whether you were born here or came to build a life here. When a heritage structure is showered with gun fire then it feels like an attack on the person! I felt like that.

Will we find a way to resolve this- - that is what is scaring me. Will we soon suffer from short memories and move ahead in life with this being, yet another chapter forgotten in the past?

Remember how outraged we were when we got to know that our soldiers did not have proper shoes when they went to fight Kargil? I have felt for them then, even got mentally disturbed and outraged then, but soon forgot about Kargil because it didn’t impact my life directly. Bombay is where we grew up, we breathe freely here, have seen childhood to adulthood here, seen happiness here and today mayhem

Today - I am enraged that how dare these dirty politicians question our soldiers getting 24eggs in a month! The same soldiers who come to Bombay as NSG & Marine Naval Commandos. To save us and protect us. And these politicians dare question that they get 24 eggs a month?! Why don’t we question these politicians and ask them why does NSG have to be based in Delhi? Don’t the Government have a moral task of safeguarding lives everywhere in the country? Is the Home Ministers life more important than the ordinary citizens life in Bombay? Should the NSG not be spread across the country for safeguarding and for security and God forbid never again for swift action too?

I am hopeful we will do something and not forget this time, the cruel hand of terror played in our city. I just know it in my guts we will not forget this lesson soon.
Just don't know what we will do to not forget, yet, though…

Maybe like all strategies the answer is staring us between the eyes and its not complicated a thought at all ! Maybe the answer is the most obvious – citizen vote bank! If we as citizens don’t have a citizen representation in the vote bank of governance in the country – through politics — then we absolutely don’t stand a chance to make anything correct! Then public memory will indeed live to be short...

If we want this crap to end, if we want terror to be finished, crisis management to be well handled, Intelligence systems to be well in place then we need to have a citizen’s vote bank! This once I want this terror crap to be the last.
I will personally persuade, direct, beg, plead, make reason and ensure everybody within my world votes! And makes sure their voice is heard!

Its now time for action – enough of words
I am totally for POTA to be revived right now! We need to move that machinery soon. How come no more terrorist acts have happened after 9/11 in USA? So can it be here too - provided we know what it takes to make it happen

Let's ensure we have a good acting responsible govt that knows
how to lead, govern & look after the nations interests

My heart will continue to bleed seeing Taj burn as long as the TV keeps flashing those images:(

For what it's worth, we need to speak up and now. Elections are round the corner lets be prepared to be heard. We need to rally in support of a War on Terror. We need to mobilize our world of family and friends to support the right leaders (am sure there are good young leaders there) by electing them resoundingly through our votes. And they in turn have to promise to flush out the terror training camps, irrespective of the soil they are on. If that leads to war, let us be mentally prepared- are the happenings in Bombay any short of war?

Lets nomore be called a city of tenacious people who jump back to normalcy all too quickly. Lets not be told how spirited we are. Let me tell you its not spirited at all, it is a desperate need to make money to feed those mouths at home that makes us go to work the next day. Its to earn a living! We are deeply indifferent as long as terror doesn’t touch our lives directly!

My friend Summerflower said, seeing things in her office, the branch head is singing songs out loud and a colleague thinks it's amusing to crack jokes with reference to the tragedy – so can this be spirited? Resilience? Or indifference?

Over the last 15 years we as a city have witnessed too much maybe therefore it leaves us cold if a few 100 die its just another day! Let it be the riots of 1992 or bomb blasts of '93, or the flash floods or the train blasts or the Gateway of India blasts and now this...any other city would by now would have torn itself apart and rebuilt a protection wall around itself. But we continue to break down even the thin walls that are barely surviving no thanks to us, and marvel at politics of the words and politicians make merry on politics for the vote bank! And the moron public like Mee cannot tell that we’ve been had not once, not twice, but so many many times!

Despite the 13 serial blasts in 1993 our city remained united. The
citizens could have easily relived the '92 riots, going at each others
throats in the name of religion. But no matter what these terror
elements tried to do, they could not break this city's unity. People
went out of their way to help others at times of crisis...never
did they ask "which region/caste/religion/country do you belong
to?" So who is creating the frisson here I ask you? The Politicians.

Incidentally for those who may not know there is an interesting story about how the Taj came into existence. The founder was not let into a plush south Bombay hotel because he was an Indian! So he went on to build India's first 5 star. Reason for each of us to be proud of our heritage.

I don't mean to offend anyone, it's just that I'm tired of calling our
coping mechanisms "resilience" when it is nothing but just truckloads
of sheer helplessness at being held at ransom every time...

I am sick of hearing abt our resilience n spirit n crap like tat
it is bull shit at it's best Part of it is sheer necessity n part of it is the need to move ahead It is all forced!! how can it ever be resilience?!

Lets wake up and ACT. Let this not be forgotten, because if we do, then we deserve the future we get. But we want a future which is prosperous, bright, economically powerful, and most importantly we want to be part of a harmonious peaceful community.

Lets all vote, lets get others around us to vote, register online if you are not a voter yet!

I hope and pray now our leaders will not fail us in rooting out this terror
My sincere gratitude to the brave hearts of our forces. Sincere homage to those who lost lives in this senseless battle over the last 3 days. The war has come down to the street we live on. And it would be a crime to hold our silence. This was the last straw that broke our backs!

In grief and hope we must act and vote. That is the only way we can bring sanity to our country and make sure we have a government that knows what effective leadership must do. Protect the country at all costs!


No Water, No Life

Two things compelled me to write about Water.

A) I am working with a client (an Ngo) WOTR who do pioneering work in water harvesting. During my course of work I had a meeting with Shekhar Kapur who shared so much information and passion on this subject that it compelled me to think deeper and search for more answers.

B) After viewing Quantum of Solace I was stunned to realize Bolivia was held to ransom in real life by USA when 70% of Bolivia’s water supply was stolen by USA - a basic resource that belonged to Bolivia was controlled by USA and then resold to the Bolivians at a price the locals could not buy! This resulted in poverty, death and further erosion of life.

Water is today’s oil. If not more precious! Just as many wars have been fought for oil, many wars will be (and have been) fought over water!! But unlike the battles braved by American soldiers to keep SUVs humming on US highways, these clashes come at the price of something far more precious - the basic necessities of life. According to one estimate, there are over 1.2 billion people on this planet without access to potable water. So why is the situation only getting worse? Seems like the key word is ‘privatization’, and those contracted to solve the problem are the only folks, who will financially benefit from the same, adding to the misery of the masses across the globe

All humans have the “right” to water. Not to bottled water. Not to high priced, frequently unavailable water, but pure, clean, easy to obtain, and inexpensive drinking water. Let this be a wake-up call to those who take such issues for granted. Water is no more a given. How many people who run the faucet as they brush their teeth, think that they are actually wasting the equivalent of a whole South African town’s weekly supply? When we pick up that bottle of Kinley or Himalayan or Evian, do we really understand that in some South American countries people would kill for such a source?

We can put down this hurtling disaster of nature, as an anecdotal incidence today and carry on with our lives and allow the maids to leave the tap running while they chat with us, or waste the rain water that flows into our cities without harvesting it meaningfully, or not teach the kids in school how important a resource water is and help preserve and conserve it to ensure that the water tables don’t run dry, not create enough sustainable incomes in villages to stop migrants from seeking big city employment for an earning thereby putting more pressure on already fast depleting resource like water! Else we can wake up and take cognizance of the crunch and help in a small but meaningful way. I know of 2-3 people in Bombay who have already looked 15 years hence and have created under ground storage tanks to harvest rain water when lakes run dry eventually, so that they are self reliant and not shelling pots of money to buy water then

Indeed, some believe that, just like during other times of crisis, an informed outside constituency will rise up to rectify what commerce and corruption has shattered.

For that fact alone, we need to conserve and preserve water and not let our taps run dry. I know it is a tired rhetoric but soon will become a reality if we don’t wake up to the dangers.Conserve. Preserve. Water IS life.


Kiss Your BlackBerry Good-Bye Mr. Prez

I read this in Charged and thought this was kinda regressive! Read on...reproduced from Charged

Forget about Obama being the first mobile president — the feds will be stripping him of his BlackBerry.

His impressive use of mobile communications and social networking tools during his campaign has led many to speculate that Obama would take these tools to the White House. With these tools, he could lead the people much more effectively — ushering in a new era of politics.

But it seems that the Oval Office just doesn’t get the signal, according to an article in the New York Times:

…before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful…

…But in the interceding eight years, as BlackBerrys have become ubiquitous — and often less intrusive than a telephone, the volume of e-mail has multiplied and the role of technology has matured. Mr. Obama used e-mail to stay in constant touch with friends from the lonely confines of the road, often sending messages like “Sox!” when the Chicago White Sox won a game. He also relied on e-mail to keep abreast of the rapid whirl of events on a given campaign day.

Mr. Obama’s memorandums and briefing books were seldom printed out and delivered to his house or hotel room, aides said. They were simply sent to his BlackBerry for his review. If a document was too long, he would read and respond from his laptop computer, often putting his editing changes in red type.

Perhaps it really is time for a change.


My bit on Sourav Ganguly

One of the best written chapters in history of cricket came to an end as the “Prince of Calcutta” walked out of the field, never to return. King of controversy, the most stylish batsman I’ve ever seen, the most successful captain India has seen, Dada will be known for many things including his brave come backs.

He was the one with the highest risk of having his career being ended with being dropped from test team one day or the other but when the decision finally came from him, it still hurt. Though, he did himself a favour by doing so saving himself from the shame of being dropped forever from the team.

Saying, I like Sourav Ganguly, would be an under statement for me. He has been my favourite sportsman at many stages over the past decade. Even though I loved cricket more than its heroes, even though other sports like F1 took my attention away from this game at times, even though the clash of Soccer and Cricket, at times, gave way to Soccer, I always was drawn to cricket because of the pride and unabashed courage I saw in Dada. At times I would be amused by his ability to irritate Australia’s on-field Mr Unflustered. And at times Ganguly could melt The Iceman just by turning up late for the toss:)

Dada was a great tease:) I am positive if he was born as an Ozzie, he would have been celebrated as a rascal and an incorrigible bright man, but because he was the opponent (Indian) – he was rude, elitist, prickly, a time waster and serial pest who couldn’t play the short ball. I don’t know why, but I admire him for these weaknesses. I sincerely do.

To have appeared in 113 Tests while dealing with short balls as uncomfortably as if he was being shot at by arrows is astounding. The game is hard enough without having to cope with a serious deficiency as well, but Ganguly did it. I didn’t really like his replacing of gloves or protective gear every couple of overs, or his calls for socks, blister pads, face wipes and apples. Bowling 90 in a day is hard enough without the batsmen joining the turtles with the ball, although it added to Ganguly's character and ate at his opponents. Hehehe

In Australia and England, Dada was seen as a man of privilege, someone who clicks his fingers and an army of servants arrives to clip his nails or fan his face. Maybe his life is like that, but after being dropped as captain and batsman by Greg Chappell (for GC I reserve some choicest words that would redden his pale skin!) I liked Dada even more, when he was made to sweat and showing his middle finger to all he would come up tops! Not everything in life was laid out for him. But came back he did! And won even more hearts this way! What perseverance for this game he had!

At his felicitation last week to celebrate his playing achievements, Dada spoke about the need to make enemies for the good of India. He talked gently and softly, but with purpose. Of the players I’ve seen, only Shane Warne and Graeme Smith have been as magnetic. When Dada enters a room I’m drawn to him and even when he’s said nothing of real interest, I’ve been entertained. During the times when he’s sniped and picked and teased it’s been even better.

Before the start of this 'Fight of their lives' series between India and Oz, he was defending his form and was reported by a Bengali newspaper to have complained “every Tom, Dick and Harry is playing for India”. For two days he let the story run before issuing a denial. Off the field he was equally good at playing games and scoring points. I will miss Dada for his entertainment and his spice. With each year, more zany characters leave the game and as public life becomes increasingly sanitized, I wonder if they can be replaced by the next generation of media-managed clones. Long live Dada in our hearts!


A view from India- on Obama and his multi billion $ election campaign which is mercifully over!

IMHO it is hugely obscene what Obama has spent in this presidential election – flushed with cash – he has made all of us realize - never is any financial number too high if the race is to win the White House! Clearly meets and exceeds the imagination as far as I am concerned.

I mean isn’t that a lot of money to spend? I wonder aloud how this money may have been put to better use? Maybe the money could have insured many uninsured Americans, it could have provided handsome education to any number of Americans, the near homeless could have saved their homes, small banks could have escaped bankruptcy, and the list could really go on if I were more educated about American Politics.

Is he not going to impose new tax burdens on Americans in the middle of a recession? Maybe then this money could have been put into a savings account and at the right time he could have surprised the country by demonstrating his service to reduce taxes,for real!

Mrs. Obama on the other hand is not on the ticket, but she travels with her husband, and therefore may very well have her clothes purchased by the Democratic party as well. If news reports are to be believed. The Obama's have not been scrutinized by the media and I wonder why? I know that Obama refused to provide his details when challenged by the New York Times in September. An article in the New York Times 09-08 said that he purchased Burberry suits that run about $1000.00 each to start without tailoring. What about the rest?. Reports said that Michelle Obama purchased a snack at the Waldorf that cost over $400.00 which included Lobster, Caviar, and champagne while on the campaign trail. The media is obviously biased since the Obama's have been immune to these questions.It is interesting that the Democrats scrutinize Palin, but don't hold to the same standard. So how come nobody has the exact figure on their expense??? Surely the government has records. Or did they spy on Palin?!?

We'll never find the correct answer to that...the majority of the liberal media is handling their precious Obama with care...they wouldn't dare release any damaging information. The figures are out as to the total amount Obama has spent during this campaign...that should speak for itself. Only fools would think every penny of that money funded appropriate campaigning tools such as creating those lovely "Change" posters… and I can’t help but be catty here I personally wish Mrs O would spend MORE money on her clothes...she always looks shabby. Actually, you don't have to spend more money...just have some fashion sense...or taste, which she's obviously lacking.

My online research tells me O has spent $ 391,437,714 on advertising, online gimmicks, wardrobes, makeup, lighting, polls, props, sets, styrofoam pillars, airbrushing, and letters to the CEO of Midwest Airlines complaining about the company's proposed wage and benefit cuts to its union flight crew. Ha-ha

Do we have any idea on how much of the money contributions have come from anonymous donors from the Middle East??

Like they say all’s fair in love & Politics! Congratulations President Barrack Obama, you are being watched closely by the world.