Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Dussehra!

Today is VijyaDashami / Dussehra - a festive ocassion which has always intrigued me. As a kid I heard its the day when Ram killed Ravan and it symbolises the victory of good over evil. Back then I thought Ravan must've been a really evil man being the "king of asurs/demons" and he deserved what he got. But as I grew old I came to know that "Ravan" was infact a Brahmin and a very intelligent one at that with vast amount of knowledge. This revelation shook my childhood beliefs about Ravan.

Ever since then I ve tried to find the true meaning of the symbolism of Ram's victory and Ravan's defeat. Isn't it true that "Jab tak Raam hai... Ravan rahega" ? Is it possible that "good" can actually eliminate "evil" from this world ? What does this symbolism mean for me as an individual and for the society that I live in ? Is it just about victory of good over evil ? Are we missing out on the fine print attached to this event thanks to our usual tendency to take a macro view ?

Every Dussehra in particular I like to take a micro view of life. Based on my experiences and understanding of life I try to refine what is "Ram" and what is "Ravan" for me. This I believe is a very important exercise for anyone who wishes to finally sign off from this world as a good human being.

Its very easy to get caught in the web of fast paced life that we now lead and lose perspective of what is good and what is "not good" (I think "evil" is too strong a word and after all the concept of "evil" depends on how we define "good" isn't it ? ) Hence its very important to use the symbolism of such festive ocassions, to take a momentary pause from our routines and get a refined perspective about our lives.

We Indians are blessed to be born in a culture which provides a well defined mechanism for this in the form of Dussehra, Diwali, Raksha Bandhan, Guru Poornima and numerous other big and small festive ocassions... if only we all looked beyond the material things which we've conveniently associated with these festivals, we would be better human beings and consequently our society/nation would be a much better place to live in!

Anyways Wish everyone a Very Happy Dussehra!! Hope you all are able to identify the "Ram" and "Ravan" in your life, thinking, conduct etc.

Here are few lines from a song in the movie "Swades" which come quite close to capturing the essence of "Ram" and "Ravan" for me...

Raam hi toh karuna mein hai, shaanti mein raam hai...
Raam hi hai ekta mein, pragati mein raam hai...
Raam bas bhakton nahin shatru ke bhi chintan mein hai...
Dekh taj ke paap raavan, raam tere mann mein hai...
Raam tere mann mein hai, raam mere mann mein hai...
Raam to ghar ghar mein hai, raam har aangan mein hai...
Mann se raavan jo nikaale, raam uske mann mein hai...
Mann se raavan jo nikaale, raam uske mann mein hai!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Death - "The Moment"

There are moments in life when we feel disappointed or dejected at having missed out on something... it could be ranging from something as trivial as watching our favorite player eclipse a major record live on TV to something which seems really important for the future course that our lives would take example a job opportunity.

The root cause of this being our belief that WE are the ones who are in charge of our lives and its WE who have the power to shape it the way we want. But then there are moments which make a complete mockery of it all.

Moments which leave us stunned

Moments which make us feel absolutely powerless

Moments which compel us to accept how foolish we have been in thinking that we are in control all the time and if we have lost control its our fault

Death is that Moment... which makes it all meaningless and at the same time gives meaning to Life. Because Life when viewed in isolation can muddle up our minds with a false sense of authority. Its Death which gives a perspective to Life, if we are ready to understand it.

The moment when you see a funeral pyre being lit being "The Moment" when Life makes the most sense. Because in the mirage created by the flames you can actually see LIFE... yes an entire Life gone by.

It is also The Moment when you realize that perhaps the only important thing in Life is to express your feelings to your near and dear ones.

Because if you don't seize The Moment when it presents itself, you might not get another opportunity ever again. And trust me this missed opportunity is perhaps the only thing worth regretting... coz you can regret it all your Life.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Awesomeness of Nothingness...

Its been months now (3 months n 9 days to be precise) since I came back from MDI. And I guess d absence of regular blog posts during this period sends across an impression that I must ve been pretty busy all this while! :)

But nothing can be farther from the reality than this impression. This period has perhaps been the most "vela" period of my life, have done practically "Nothing" all this while.

Am sure activities such as eating, sleeping, sitting all day long in front of d Idiot Box like an Idiot, spamming on various Yahoo Groups or abusing d Social Networking platforms (Yes all 3 - FB, Twitter n Orkut) finally add up to nothing else but "Nothing".

Okk, On the sidelines I have also been involved in some pretty interesting discussions with the HR Team of my would be employer. And have spent decent amount of time trying to decipher the encrypted messages embedded in their replies, which usually is a one liner "We will revert back soon/shortly".

But the fact that I've failed and that too miserably at deciphering the meaning of simple words like "soon" & "shortly" means all d time spent drafting mails, plotting phone calls, startegising 4 d next round of mails/phone calls also adds up to nothing else but "Nothing".

At times I feel, all the hours spent dreaming about the good ole days spent at MDI must surely add up to something ? Not exactly, right ?

So it all finally adds up to "Nothing"... pretty depressing... especially when you consider am a freshly minted MBA - a "Change Master" in MDI parlance... raring to go all out and change the Corporate world and lives of its denizens.

But then to console my self I look at all that has happened in the world around me in this period... just sample these...

Manmohan Singh was sworn in as the PM (1st one to do so after Jawaharlal Nehru)
Deccan Chargers won d IPL
BJP is done with 1 round of Letter Writing competition
Ronaldo & Kaka are all set to join Real Madrid
No tantrums thrown by Mamta didi yet
Pakistan won d World T20
Michael Jackson is dead
Nadan Nilekani is all set to become the CIO of India
Liberhan Comission has submitted its report on Babri Masjid demolition
The Bandra Worli Sea Link is finally functional

And what have I been upto all this while... NOTHING!! Its Awesome, isn't it? :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The First Egg-shit Poll of Elections 2009! :)

Last month or so the two IPLs (P for 'Premier' as well as 'Political') have helped me kill time and its quite a coincidence that as I write this blog post action is really hotting up in both the IPLs. Both are right now at a similar stage with likely semi finalists staking their claims. But the actual final lineup will be only clear in about a weeks time from now.

For me the IPL of the Political kind has at most times been more engrossing than the cricketing one. And today being the last day of polling, post 5PM there will be a flurry of activity on the news channels with each of them coming out with their Exit Polls (remember the EC had banned mid elections Exit polls this time around). Every news channel will have their set of psephologists/pollsters who will try to convince the viewers that there’s is the survey which is closest to the reality. Of course the real picture would only be clear as early as 10AM on 16th May.

But since all this while I too was quite hooked to the Elections I thought it was time I put all my efforts at tracking fortunes of various parties and leaders to good use. So I decided to do some number crunching and release an Exit Poll of my own. After all I have practically read every news article that's appeared in print/online media related to elections and watched all the debates, field reports on various news channels. Moreover speculation is a part of basic human nature isn't it ?

So here I am with the results of my first ever exit poll . Which I firmly believe is the first its kind as it doesn’t rely on asking few questions to a sample of 1000/10000 people regarding the choices they have made and extrapolating them for the nation. Coz with all due respect to the discipline of Statistics (which lemme confess has only grown after I underwent the Stats course at MDI :)) ) n its revered practisioners I firmly believe that such a "scientific approach" is unsuitable for Indian elections since:
  • Here elections are fought on issues like caste, religion, foreign origins, strengths and weaknesses of prime ministerial candidates, fatwa’s, hate speeches etc on which 70 crore voting population has at least 70 crore views if not more
  • Voting percentages vary from as low as 25% to high 65% in various parts of the country and results can be decided by margins as lows as 1000 votes to 2 lakh votes too
So my Exit poll is based on one plain simple concept:
  • Common sense, gut feel, inner voice (some may call it bias towards a particular party too... but then such allegations will be leveled by politicians too tonight if the results on a particular channel don't favor them ;) )
Of course I have also made use of statistical data like the results of the 1999 & 2004 elections i.e. seats won, percentage of votes polled etc and non statistical inputs like field reports from various states (as reported by the Indian media - print, online as well as television), reports from friends & relatives in various parts of the country and most importantly a resulting sense of the political situation prevailing in various parts of the country.

Some intangible weight age has also been assigned to the possible impact on the voters of the election campaigns of the various parties. This includes the elections speeches, press conferences, interviews of their leaders as well as all the confusing sound bytes. Of course the impact of "Jai Ho", "Bhay Ho" ad campaigns, the huge posters of Advaniji staring at us from numerous hoardings across the country, Priyanka's saarees, Rahul's dimples has also been factored in (or so I hope ;) ).

Enough light has been shed about the methodology (or rather the lack of it) so let me come down to the results now. First up, here's The Big Picture:

Best Case

Worst Case

Most Likely

















*UPA = Congress + NCP + RJD + LJP + TMC + DMK
*NDA = BJP + SS + SAD + JD(U) + TRS + AGP + INLD
*Expected margin of error : +/- 10 seats 

As for the people interested in the so called Third/Fourth fronts they are expected to stack up as follows:

Best Case

Worst Case

Most Likely

























For the detailed breakup of state-wise predictions please click here.

So here it is Ladies n Gentlemen... the First Egg-Shit err Exit Poll of Elections 2009... n that too a good 1 hour before any news channel has come out with its own version.

Of course over the next few days it would be clear as to how close or far away from the pulse of the people I was in my analysis and predictions. But what the heck! So what if I am no Dorab or Yogendra Yadav to hang around with the Prannoy Roys, Rajdeep Sardesais of the world ? As a participant in this greatest Dance of Democracy on planet earth I too am entitled to take a shot isn’t it ? :)).

Open to comments, criticism, counter analysis, jabs, swipes...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

That lazy feeling...

Its been over a month since I came back from MDI and its been spent pretty much doing nothing. Days have been spent reading 3 newspapers in a matter of couple of hours ( :) perhaps I am compensating for d 2 years at MDI when I hardly read a couple of pages of news ) , social networking, watching d coverage of Elections on various news channels besides the odd interesting IPL/Champions League encounter... all play and no work has made me a really dull man!! :))

As for this blog had lot of stuff on my mind... memoirs from a trip to The City of Joy, memoirs from Life at MDI, dissection of Indian politics, analysis of the strong leader weak leader argument, my views on the low voter turnout in Bombay and a lot more.

But then I was down with the good old procrastination syndrome. Will surely complete these long pending posts soon.

Until then!