Thursday, July 30, 2009

Photograph of a Flower

Yet again a photo of a flower from my archives whose name I just don't know. Still not recovered from cold and any thoughts that hits my mind just flows away through my nostrils.

This I took (like many other) in my friend's garden. Living in groundfloor atleast gives you that luxury of a garden. The photo was taken in the month of february.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Food Wise Street Wise

The Shop. Since it was sunday so crowd was much lesser than usual.

A plate of Rajma Chawal

Have you being to Delhi? Have you checked out the street food? No, then you have certainly missed something.

It cannot be conveniently said that street food in Delhi is hundred percent hygienic. But if you haven’t tried out gol gappas and other spicey stuff then you have certainly missed something. Each region of Delhi has its own variety, and its own specialty. Go to Nehru place, one of the largest computer markets in Asia, you would certainly relish the Biryani and cholle chawal. Go to Chandni Chowk in the Old Delhi, well then you are at the mecca of street food. Karol Bagh, Lajpat Nagar, Tilak Nagar, Connaught Place, Darya Ganj, ITO, you name them and they have their own specialty.

Today I am writing about the meal I had at Shankar Market, near the outer circle of Connaught Place (or Indira Chowk, if you go by the government nomenclature), last Sunday. This shop does not have a name, but for thirty years, it’s providing delicious food North Indian food to its customers the employees at the adjoining office complexes. Every afternoon the place is thronged by people, from every walks of life, office goers, college students for their lunch, clerks for packing lunch for their bosses, other people who came to Connaught Place for some work and cannot afford its pricey restaurant. For them it is a Mecca of afternoon. You can even find some BMW or a Merc standing by and owners inside with their plates.

The shop primarily provides for types of North Indian dishes, quintessential ‘Rajma Chawal’, ‘Curry Chawal’, ‘Cholle Chawal’ and ‘Puri Chawal’, sometimes every ‘palak paneer chawal’. Quantity of food in a single plate is enough for two; a plate will have apart from the main course, salad, raita and papad. But there is a catch, do not expect them to serve, you fetch the plate and everything will be mingled in them and there is no sitting so try to get yourself a better place to stand or sit. The food usually gets exhausted by 4 PM during weekdays. Since I went there on Sunday 3 PM, there was no problem. But if you go there on any weekday, brace yourself for the queue and crowd.

Thirsty! Then there is water vendor just on the premises itself or there are other shops to get ‘bisleri’. And even if you don’t like going there, there is always a McDonald, Nirula’s, Rodeo’s, Wimpy’s, Pizza hut or any other restaurant nearby. But this place is surely a try. I have being there since my college days, it has never disappointed me, even when it sweltering May, the food has being always good. But you always have right to your own opinion and tummy.

© Tarun Mitra

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Photograph of a flower

It's Tuesday and I am not feeling good. With allopathic medicine I am feeling rather dizzy. But I have to have a post so there it is. A yellow colored flower, again I don't know the name, which grows wildly in Delhi. If you know the name please let me know.

PS: The picture is not taken today. It was taken on July 13th, 2009.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Doctors- why they are not easily available?

Last Friday my grandfather suffered a stroke in the morning. He felt dizzy, and fell down, unconscious and defecated. His eyes rolled over and we almost thought, but with repeated massage he regained some consciousness. He began to wheeze, a sign that his only working lungs in overstretched. Somehow we were able to make him stand, and after cleaning him up we gave him the emergency medicines. He recovered soon enough but due to the fall he pulled his back.

We thought it would be preferable if his doctor would examine him. Since the doctor has a busy schedule and has stopped carrying his cell phone I decided to fetch him from his clinic itself. My mother called the clinic first just to confirm the availability of the doctor. As I went there the compounder told me the doctor would not be available for home, better get the patient to the clinic. Since that was not possible, I decided to stay and have a talk with the doctor. When we finally met, we had a brief chat, he told me fetch me tomorrow, same time. I bode him good bye and left for home. I didn’t fetch him on Saturday. Grandfather had recovered since then.

But the pertinent question remains, are doctors easily available. It is the situation with a doctor in the metropolis, now think about their availability in the rural areas. My doctor was busy with other patients, who came earlier, rightly so, it’s first come first serve. But when there is a case in case of emergency what is to be done. Nothing, I suppose, if you are lucky enough then you will survive.

The problem is not isolated case, and there are two causes to this, greed and scarcity. With the acquired knowledge and huge experience it’s anything but possible to seek for some more resources. The Hippocratic Oath they take gets drowned in the hypocrite considerations. And surge in popularity means more money and more opportunities. Adding on to it, doctors are limited, according to latest statistics the country produces 30,000 doctors a year, whereas requirement is of around 110,000. Fewer doctors mean the more pressure on the existing stock, and if any one proves too good, then he has got the Midas touch. After some time this Midas asks some more for his touch, eventuality one has to pay and dance to his wishes. Scarcity and greed works in tandem.

My grandfather is doing fine, except for the pain at the back which is bothering him. After that we didn’t bothered to take him to the doctor. It was known what to expect from the ECG, and he himself doesn’t wants to be hospitalized. The matter for us is settled but the question remains, why doctors are not easily available?

© Tarun Mitra

Photo of a duck

Preparing himself

Here comes the King

I took these snaps of the duck at Bhulla Tal, Lansdowne. In the first picture, he prepares himself and in the second he launches.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Handicapped? So you wanna travel in that?

What's the catch, sirjee? Contradiction Galore...

Ambi Mall in Gurgaon is one of the biggest malls in the country. So it was not surprising to see special electric vehicles operated in various floors to ferry old age and handicapped people. But what is surprising is the notice which I read there. First of all you are welcome, then your are told that you are doing it on your own risk. The photograph here is the merged outcome to two different photos as it was not possible to get the two sentences at one place.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Picture of a Precious Stone- Ladies Special

A pendant displayed at a shop at Ambience Mall

Ladies, please be honest, which one of you visiting this blog do not aspire for this ;)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mustards Fields at Bijnore

I clicked this picture on my way to Delhi from Lansdowne. I was reading a post in Travel Tales from India when I thought about the sharing the picture. I have to stop my car to take this particular one. Well to say truth, we'd a photo session there, female members of our office team wanted to be clicked in the 'Khet'. So there we were. On that highway I just wish when I'd be able to click while on the move.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Photograph of a Geese

What she is looking at

One of my personal favorites. I took this picture at Bhulla Tal, Lansdowne, Uttrakhand. Visiting the place in February. The place is beautiful and serene.

Photographs of Jaipur

The Full platter. If this was not enough they didn't stopped serving until we pleaded them to. They served with a lot of love

The oven. It is not for the show but they actually cook foods there.

A village door. Beautiful design.

The balcony.

Beautiful Rangoli

I visited Jaipur last November along with my office mates. I really had a great trip there. If you happen to visit Jaipur, do visit Chokkhi Ghani, a model Rajathani Village being set up by Rajasthan Tourism. Entry cost is around Rs. 300 and includes traditional Rajasthani feast.

Inside the Chokkhi Ghani or the ideal village, you can surely enjoy many activities like camel riding, palmistry, kulfis etc for a nominal charge. Another thing is that quality of food served there is very good. The atmosphere inside resembles that is present in a village fair. If you visit Jaipur, then don't miss this place.

Photograph of Flower

Again I am sharing another photograph of a flower. Friends, please name this flower, and enlarge my botanical knowledge base :)

By the way I will love to call it 'lively afterglow'

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Story of Him- The Unemployed

He never knew it would come to this. Ever since recession struck the Indian shores he knew that his job was in danger. Last January his company Asian operations lost 800 people, they never admitted they had lain off. The thunder stuck in month of April when his Connecticut based manager asked him to leave. He was given only 3 months advance salary as per his contract and no other benefit. No farewell was accorded to him, the best employee of Asia region in last year itself.

Ever since then he is at home 24/7. He has changed his home since. From the 3 bedroom mortgaged house in an upscale metropolis to his father’s old two rooms flat at middle class colony in an old city. He has already sold off his car. He stopped using the air conditioner when he faced the frequent power failure. He has changed his lots of old habits. He now gets up early, fills up water for his home, does some house work and always eats at home. Although he has increased smoking but has shifted to low cost brands. Now is only drinks local whisky.

He hasn’t got any job since then. Every time he applied he was told that he was over-qualified and under-experienced. He has plethora of degrees and qualifications to boast. But he was still in his mid-twenties, which hasn’t helped. Although he has lowered his salary expectation considerably, but it still cannot comfort them, after all who wants an over-qualified junior. He now secretly laments that he has little too much of qualifications. All his friends have deserted him. They only talked to him whenever he calls them; they make tall promises but are short of actions. Sometimes they even don’t pick up his call. He leads an almost lonely life. Almost nobody visits him, and he also has no one to visit. He spends most of his time on the computers. Searching for job or satisfying his carnal self. He can still afford a cheap broadband connection.

To kill his time he decides to write. But it occurs to him that he hasn’t written anything informal for a long time, in short he cannot write. He remembers that he used to write poetry when he as in love. But when his love left him his writer had died within him. Thinking of his love he wanders into past, into his college days when he was going in for multiple degrees but still had had time pen a few words. He feels the shivering feeling that used to emasculate him when he used to see her. He loved this weakness. He loved to lay his head on her lap and he loved the way she uses to kiss his forehead. He still remembers the events of the day when she left him. On that day he was cold, and showed no emotions, it was a shock, he was able to hide his emotions.

He mind then wander onto his father; A municipal employee, before that he has dabbled his hands in singing. He has a love hate relation with his father. He still feels the warmth of the cold mornings of his childhood when his father use to take him to long walks, to movies, fairs and plays. But he also remembers him as sour man who has ruined his mental peace during his teenage, after his mother died of cancer. When he was in college he urged him to take a job in the city council, he has refused as he was already working part time with an advertising agency. This saw a flared up temper in his house, and exchange of angry words. The other day he left his home. He was 19 then and only visited his father on weekends.

He is 26 now, and has lost his job after spending two years in the company. Before that he had a lot of part time experience. When he return to his father’s two room flats, his father was bearing the attitude of I told you so. Though he didn’t shared much words with his father, but he can see from his face what he meant “You and your degrees are useless, you should have taken the job of clerk right after school. You could be head clerk now. With a stable income, you would have being much happier.” He hated his father, but he had no other option. He has also promised his mother.

A gentle shock of slipped elbow from his chair wakes him up. He has being day dreaming. He looked at the image of the naked woman in his monitor. But he was in no mood now. He changed the webpage for his email. He didn’t have any, except for some spam and few free subscriptions. He changed it to the porn site again. His desktop has being strategically located, beside the window with monitor facing the window. Nobody can have a clue of what he is doing until he or she is able to push himself between the table and window. Outside the window no one can see his monitor, he is using the protection.

He looks outside the window. With rampant illegal construction in search of more space and privacy, has left nothing but lack of individual privacy. He can easily peep into many bathrooms now, and see what is going on inside them. An empty mind is devils workplace. He tells himself, but still he cannot stop himself from seeing the same women, whom he calls aunties or ‘bhabhis’ or some newly married women taking bath in their bathrooms. He has become a pervert. But he doesn’t care anymore. When he was good, he was fired, now what worse can be in store for him?

He lights his cigarette. His eyes kept moving outside. They were waiting for someone. ‘Ah! There she comes’ he tells himself, looking at a middle aged woman recently shifted to their colony. He examined her more clearly. He wants to meet him once, but he can’t she was married with kids. Secondly his reputation will be hammered. He looked at him intently, and then she moved inside. Now he was in mood. He went to bathroom. He came back after few minutes. He lights up another cigarette.

He wonders, was he always like this. Working his way out his graduate and post graduate and finally his permanent job, he only had one serious affair. That was in college. After that he has dated many and slept with few, but he was not serious. But he had never being a frustrated guy looking at anyone lasciviously. He was smart; he can be seductive but not lascivious. What had he done to come to this?

His thoughts are again broken by the knock at the door. A courier boy has just delivered a package. It came from his former office. Some documents has arrived in his name, they had delivered it to him. That the least they can do for him, he thinks. They were his subscription of magazines and bank statements. He returns to his computer.

He again dwells into his unanswered thoughts. He has always being a good employee and helpful friend. Even in the college, he has helped many in getting some part time job. In employment he has helped many of his colleagues without any expectations. He was hard worker and was awarded best employee for the year 2009. But it never had come to this. Why me? Breaking into laughter he suddenly remembers the reply or Arthur Ashe to this question.

He has a share of his good times. After he left his father’s house, he stayed at a rented accommodation with his 6 friends for 4 years. Every night was almost a party night; they worked hard, studied hard and partied hard. Amongst them he was only one who got more than two qualifications, landing himself straight into the middle management of Indian operations of an MNC. All others were well employed. After joining he bought his new house, the 3 bedroom flat, a new car, plasma TV and all other luxuries his money can buy. Flat, car and TV came on loan, others were outright purchases. He has developed a taste for single malts, imported cigarettes and cigars. He went to disco every second night. Good times seem never to end. But then it stuck.

“Shhhaaa…” he wheezed, he was thinking about one thing again and again, the thought. He goes through the same cycle also every day. He shuts down his computer and decides to go for walk. It was noon; with delayed monsoon streets were hot and humid. He walked till the nearest market, unable to bear the heat, he returned. His thoughts again take him over. Why does father treats me like this? Why does he blame me for everything wrong in his life? Am I really responsible for my mother’s death? Again a gentle tremor wakes him up. What he is thinking and why so? He decides to read.

Reading the hindi newspaper was again new to him. He last student the subject in his higher secondary. But now he has to content himself whatever his father buys. Turning through the pages he shuffles through the news of murders, crimes, rapes, prices, illicit relationships and every other thing but not anything about jobs or economic condition. A cheap newspaper, he shrugs. It was lunchtime, but he didn’t want to repeat the cycle now. He decides to give lunch a miss. He decides to stay hungry.

His cell rang up at 3 PM. It startled him; the call was from an unknown number. He took the phone and talked. When he kept the phone, he was happy and bewildered. The girl whom he loved once wants to meet him, how did she got his number, he wondered. And why again she wants to meet him? Wasn’t she married? Why she remember him after long 6 years? Since he has nothing more to do, he had said yes.

He left the keys to his next door neighbors. She told him that she would pick him up. Many questions were going in his mind. At 4 PM sharp she came in her car along with her driver. They picked him up, she instructed the driver to drive towards their old college. For some time they cannot talk, silence seemed to have crept into their lips. Adjusting his thoughts, he spurted out, “Hi! How are you, so long, how did you got my number..” he ate up many words as he tried to speak them at once. Regaining her composure, she began to reply, to what he has asked and what he had supposedly asked. She wanted to meet him ever since she came to know about his job loss. She got his number from their common friend. She is still living with her husband. She had indirectly followed his career, and was shocked to know about his job. The car came to a halt at the backside of his college.

She opened her door and got outside. He wanted to come outside but she stopped him. She wants to see off her driver. She wants to spend some time together, alone. Her driver also got out. She escorted him towards the main road. Again alone, he looked towards the wall which he had jumped many a times. He remembers his first kiss. How he and his friends used to smoke here. All his memories were going around in his head. He was feeling happy, after many months someone actually wants to talk to him.

He was lost in his thoughts, suddenly, his car received a jerk. He saw a battery of policemen encircling the car. They pulled him out of the car and handcuffed him. Shocked, he asked the reason. They told him he is being accused for murder and stealing.

The trunk of the car has a dead body. He is accused of murdering him and stealing his car to dispose off his body. He furiously refuted the charges, but was taken to lock up immediately. Circumstantial evidences were against him. At the lock up he heard a woman testifying against him. He had heard her voice before. She was his former girl friend. She was it he thought who bought the car at the first place.

He slowly went through what she had said.

She called him for consoling him for his job loss. But he insisted on meeting her. She then sent a car for him. The car was driven by her friend, who was also at the scene of crime. He came, and began to argue with her. Her husband, who had just return home at that moment overheard it and asked him to leave. In fit of fury he held his neck and broke it. Then holding him as booty he took the car, put the body into the trunk and fled. Her friend, who bought him there, was also attacked by him at the first place. Then she contacted the police.

Bag of lies, with his eyes wide open, he began to shout. But there was no one to listen to him. Police was used to such shouting. He wanted to cry. He cried whole night. Next day he was presented before the magistrate. Magistrate handed him 14 days of custody. That day was not his usual day, he can at least smile for that, he thought. But there was no trace of his father. Why hasn’t he come, after all it’s his son who is in jail. He asked a policeman. He coldly told him, the moment your father came to know you are arrested, he packed his bags and left. He left no note. He was stone cold. He has now lost the person who loathed him and who he loves to loathe.

He was again thrown back into his cell. But that evening he has a visitor.

His former love visited him, along with her driver. He can recall his face. But the manner they held each other hands suggested something else. He shouted, on seeing her, what the hell is this. Smiling, she first introduced the guy, apparently he was a friend to her late husband, and then she told him, ‘sorry honey, but you were the only one free. At least I am able to rescue you from your daily boring routine. I needed to get rid of this man. But I have to weave a solid tale, when I came to know about you, I got the man I wanted. Frustrated and alone, without family or friends, you were alone, doing nothing. I decided to do you a favor; in jail you won’t be alone.”

‘But why me?’ he shouted.

She replied, ‘well dear, you fitted the bill, an old lover, recently unemployed, talks to love, gets passionate and kills, no one will have doubt about it, after all unemployment can be heartbreaking. Isn’t that you learn in business, to use people effectively and efficiently. Secondly if you don’t want to go to jail, I can do you another favor, they’ll prove that you are mental patient and then you will be thrown at an asylum. At least that much I can do for my old love. Isn’t that generous on my part? Think it over.’

Then she left. Leaving him alone.

He was seething in anger, but only question he can ask is the question he can ask to god only. It was the only question he kept murmuring.

“Why me?”

© Tarun Mitra

Monday, July 20, 2009

Photograph of a Flower

Beaming in Sunlight

The only thing I know about this flower is that it is called 'Jaba phul' in Bengali. I have never bothered to know its scientific name. This variety is known as 'Rakta Jaba' rakta which means blood in Bengali, stands for the blood like color of this flower. This one is usually given as offering to 'Maa Kali' and perceived as her favorite flower.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Grey Area in Takeover Regulations

A grey area seems to have emerged in SEBI (Substantial Acquisition and Takeover) Regulations, 1997 or simply takeover code. This area is specifically relates to hitting of trigger point by acquiring 15% or more shares in the form of Depository receipts.

The case relates to the exemption application filed by Bharti Airtel and MTN to acquire 36% of shares in Bharti by MTN, Bharti on the other hand according to this complex cross border deal will acquire 49% shares in MTN. In the given case MTN is acquiring 36% shares by subscribing to the GDRs of Bharti. Technically takeover code is only applicable to Indian companies and shares held in India, it excludes the Depository Receipts which are held outside India and are subject to the regulations for the foreign regulator, even though the underlying deposits are of Indian shares.

The SEBI has given the exemption to the MTN to acquire 36% share without hitting the trigger point, which is, not making a public offer to acquire a further 20% shares in Bharti. Since the shares are in the forms of GDR, SEBI has asserted that they are not shares held in India per-se. This decision puts into light a glaring loophole, now investors fear that cross-border acquisition now can be done by skirting the open offer clause. Effectively this decision could facilitate sidestepping of the takeover code itself.

It should be the high time for plugging this loophole.

© Tarun Mitra


The data has being take from “Dangerous Exemption” appeared in July 20, 2009 issue of The Businessworld magazine.

Simply Quoted

While studying economics at graduate level, we all had studied how money begets money. That is, how credit creates more credit and money flows in the market; a way by which a single rupee can create ten rupee.

No, I am not going to explain that simple yet difficult theory again. But yet the implications of the theory are what we have felt and are still feeling for the last two years. Credit created credit, and more innovative solutions were found to give more credit. But when derivatives with underlying credit collapsed as creditors defaulted on their credit, the world economy simply fell like house of (credit) cards. Repercussions were felt by almost everyone.

All these events give us a new insight of what a modern man does. Quoted by US politician Earl Wilson, it is important to dwell upon his quote.

“The modern man drives a mortgaged car over a bond-financed highway on credit-card gas.”

© Tarun Mitra

The Dark Underbelly

The photos of Ambi Mall in Gurgaon fist picture is of the ceiling, second one is the four floor of retail space, third one is picture taken at evening, and last one is seven floor tower.
They bedazzle you; and they have an intimidating presence which leaves the mouths open and eyes wide. They are huge and are off frightening proportions, anyone visiting them first time can be dumbfounded by its sheer dazzle, and by the time he can gain his better senses, he will be glaring at the mannequins and windows designs, wondering whether he is in the same country. Welcome to the world of ‘malls’.

Though the concept is not new, but in India the phenomenon has just caught the fire. Seldom there is any teenager who hasn’t visited the mall. With advent of foreign brands, it is only to grow. With high disposable income in hand, people are willing to spend, who after all cares about the recession. The entire structure also contributes; it provides jobs, taxes and revenue. So it is win-win situation or is it.

I happened to visit Ambi Mall in Gurgaon on Saturday as my one friend has threw his birthday party there. One of largest malls in India, it houses over 300 stores, a hotel, food court, many restaurants and one beer island. The structure is intimidating, as when you enter the complex, first noticeable thing is the serpentine queue of the cars of every make looking for a parking space. And on entering the building, you are flooded by the sea of bustling humanity who are already there going from store to store whether buying or not. With at least four floors and a million and half square meters of shopping space, it is not much difficult to get lost in the place. Some time it does reminds me about the ‘fairs’ that I used to visit earlier, the only difference is the air-conditioning and class of the crowds visiting the place.

But even though we thought we will have a hell of a time. I somehow felt subdued and angry. I am still unable to fanthom the reason for such feeling. But it was there. Was I got overawed by the giganticness of the structure? Or was I got amazed by the spending power of the country which is supposedly going through recession? Or was it something else, something like some child of fourteen helping in construction of a new restaurant. Or the underage maids who were helping out the young moms to manage their newborns, so that the mom can have some fun with their hubbies. The dark underbelly of the Indian society.

As I moved around in the place, doing what other people were religiously doing, moving from place to place, with my eyes moving everywhere, newest trends to beautiful young women and towards the sexy legs going around in the mall. I was still wondering was it still worth. Although I was having a good time but something has kept pinching me, and is still pinching. I can feel it.

With these structures, we can surely satisfy our materialistic needs, the needs which we feel fulfills us. There is nothing bad in aspiring for something. But can we, as a society, accept that our desires are being met by someone whose age is still to nurture dreams. Every time when we visit such place and we see things like this we tend to ignore it. Can these great structures and this great society have such weak foundations? The question is still open, and it is pervasive, not just related malls.

© Tarun Mitra

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Noble Experiment

If you see the history of alcohol, you will be surprised that a man’s requirement to get a high date backs to 10,000 BC. Humanity has come long way since then. Many preachers have preached about its ill effects and on the contrary many have even made us count its benefits. To sum up there is love hate relationship with the alcohol (or anything addictive).

However, ‘The Noble Experiment’ is the one which emerges out of the hate relationship with the alcohol. The experiment, which once touted to remove the scourge of drinking from the face of America, didn’t succeed. It was a great exercise of morality, and virtue but it failed. America was not the first one to impose prohibition; it was started in Canada in 1900, followed by Russia (and USSR), Norway, Iceland and Romania. However they didn’t last long. After all, a man’s desire to get a high can take him to anywhere and do anything.

The idea of intoxication is not new in India; it is in also imbibed in the Hindu religion itself as a prasad of Shiva, the god of destruction. However, India’s tryst with non-drinking actually started under Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi who once promised his mother that he will not touch alcohol also preached its ill effects. After his death his students or followers imposed his ideas on the country, after all he is the father of the nation.

Since independence the prohibition has being imposed in the country from time to time. However, every time government does realize its mistakes and takes it back. After all who wants to forego the revenue worth thousands of crores. The state of Haryana in the late nineties imposed the prohibition; it only saw its border with Delhi jammed every day with men, crawling to get their daily quota, sanity restored within two years, and prohibition was lifted. However in some states, it was there for more than a decade, but was ultimately lifted the reason, rise in illicit liquor, hooch deaths and loss of revenue.

But one state in India tries to make a point by keeping the noble experiment alive. It is the state of Gujarat. Though primarily known for its industrial prowess, the birthplace of Bapu does want to keep his teachings intact. Evening if it has till now costs more than 1000 deaths to illicit liquor. The state has longest serving prohibition in the country.

But practically speaking who is actually benefitted by such prohibition, is it the people? Or the state? The answer on both account is no. People, no matter how much educated will have the tendency to do what they are being told not to do. After all there is no more fun than breaking law. But who is being actually benefitted.

The answer, three people, the police, the politician and the mafia, all of them are hand in glove in that state. Everyone knows even though, liquor is banned it is still available in the state; only at 300% markup to the printed price. All of this is maintained by the mafia, supported by police and filling the coffers not of the state, but of the politician. That’s why they don’t want to ban it, opposition and government alike.

Therefore when a statement is made by the liquor Baron Mallya (even though he has his own vested interest) about removing the prohibition, he was criticized to the core. After all who wants to dry up a regular source of revenue? This was further justified when police was able to round up more than 600 suspects, smelling something fishy here. Well, fish does go well with alcohol. Anyhow, what if drinking is legalized, does government stands to lose?

The simple answer is no, for the government it will be a win-win situation, it can taxed liquor and generate revenue at one hand, and on the other same can be used for funding campaigns educating people about the ill effects of alcohol. But the trinity (police, mafia and politicians) would never agree, after all in the state of bapu, it is the noble experiment. An experiment ought to be kept intact. But this noble experiment, if continued in this manner, will remain an ignoble reality and the latest hooch tragedy is only the testimony of this fact.

© Tarun Mitra

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Photoblog

I have being thinking for many days to start a blog where I would be sharing my photos.
It would have only remained an idea, but somehow I was able to kick myself out of my lethargy and create the blog. The '' will be a blog whereby I would be sharing the pieces of my photography. I might not be good, but I do have the passion for it. I would sincerely be waiting for your comments.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When life comes full circle

Life sometimes comes to a full circle, and repeats what you think have had lost in the sands to time. It occurs not once but many a times. When we usually get back to where we started, the very beginning itself. Any achievements we made till that time although stands, but are of no use.

Can anything be done about it? Well overwhelming answer from the ‘motivation experts’ will be ‘yes’ and common answer would be to take control of our lives. But what about the things which are beyond our control; a man can control his mind but cannot easily dominate the minds of others. What do you do then? Nothing! As Shreemad Bhagwat Geeta says “do your karma, and don’t worry about the fruit”.

One has to accept that, even though he can become master of his destiny and captain of his soul, but still his real tests lies when results are different from expected. Then this Captain has to commandeer his battered soul towards his new destiny.

And even though going through that beaten path again, the Captain and Master must accept one thing. The only person entitled to call himself a ‘Man’ is a person who has the courage to risk everything, and if he losses to start all over again.

To summarize I want to quote some lines from the famous Ruyard Kipling poem ‘If’

……If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";…..
…….If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

© Tarun Mitra

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Men Beware!

“In a Jurassic Park scenario, scientists have created sperm from human stem cells. Babies could be born artificially in future making men redundant.”

Men, beware, this above statement appeared as a headline in a leading Indian tabloid “Mail Today” talk about the new frontier in science. A frontier, crossing of which will see men disappear.

The development which is fraught by medical and ethical problems appeared in journal ‘Stem Cells and Development’. A team of British scientists led by Biologist Karim Nayernia (who is apparently a male) from Newcastle University created a cocktail of chemicals and vitamins that turned human stem cells into sperm. Prof. Nayernia is convinced that they (the sperms) would be capable of fertilizing eggs and creating babies.

This discovery raises the possibilities of ‘virgin mothers’ whereby woman can become pregnant entirely through artificial mean. Even there can be the scenario where long dead men can be fathering children from beyond the grave. Although Prof. Nayernia asserts that this discovery can be useful in solving the problem of infertility among the men which is on rise these days.

However one just cannot possibly ignore the implications of this discovery, especially if you are male. Few years back a research show that men are more prone to be extinct than women. Now reading this research in perspective of that one done earlier, Me Beware! You are at serious risks. With capabilities which will make men redundant, and possibility of extinction looms large, less money will be invested to revive the male. Now, women can do it without men, they can become mothers, run business, drive science and do every other thing which were earlier called ‘male domain’.

Now what can this discovery leads to, apart from ‘virgin mothers’, dead men as fathers, or even customized babies, It will lead to gargantuan change in the vocabulary of human beings. All male dominated words will simply be eliminated, who needs the dead to create standards after all; Chairman will become Chairwoman, making will change to womankind, odd-man-out to odd-woman-out, man hours will become woman hours, manhood will become womanhood, man-eater will become woman-eater, patriarchal order will become matriarchal order, even words with slightest inclination towards ‘male’ will change, malefactor will become femalefactor, maledict will become femaledict, longshoreman will change to longshorewoman and the list is endless. The change will be enough to wipe out the idea of men from the face of earth. Only his stem cell will remain and few copies will rot in graves and museums, amusement for the modern ladies about the extinct animals of the past.

So my dear brethren beware, and wake up to reality and prepare. Otherwise, ‘The Man’ will ultimately be lost in the sands of time.

© Tarun Mitra


The information is taken from the article “No Need For Men” appeared in Mail Today July 9, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

You earn when you live, they even earn when they are dead (and also make other earn)

You work very hard; you work night and day to earn a living. You earn so that you can contribute to your savings, contribute to your investments, contribute to your EMIs, contribute to your expenditures, contribute to your extravagance, contribute to your pension funds, and contribute towards taxes. Well there are too many contributions to be made in a lifetime. And when you retire, you expect that your savings, investments and pension fund will carry you forward to the twilight of your life. A perfectly predictable life. But in this you may also add on, if you wish, when you become successful, working till the very end. Serving more as a honorary position. Giving lectures to the young guns about your experience in your life. And when you die, there is an announcement in the newspaper, condolences fly in from far places. And then you are finally put to rest.

But alas! What about those one who can even earn or make others earn even after their deaths? Well who they are? People like us. Well no. They are celebrities. Because when they die, there last journey is telecast live, there rites are performed in auditorium. And arrangement in most of the cases is made by the state. Yes, the state, taking money from you as taxes and spending it on the funeral of the celebrities.

Take the case of latest dead celebrity, the pop king Michael Jackson. His burial was telecast live. His burial got second highest TV ratings in the new century, at least 31 million Americans having watched it, data from other countries is still not available. Los Angeles spent at least $1.4 million on arrangements. Even Los Angeles Health Department is putting copies of his death certificate for sale. Organizers are planning live shows about him. Well isn’t that too much money now. Well, there might more be coming. Like special edition of his songs, his personal artifacts and many other things. Who knows what new innovation the human brain comes to?

This case cannot be dealt as an isolated case, it is happening world over. It first began as solidarity towards the dead and now, it has full chance of becoming the roaring business. People like celebrities, and in the course of time began to associate with themselves. Their joy and pain become their joy and pain.

No wonder death becomes a profitable business.

© Tarun Mitra


The data for this article has being complied from following sources

Sell as they may

Annual budget might not have the significance as it used to have once. It was the period when people used to hook to their radios and Black & White television sets to apprise themselves of the latest cutbacks and increases. In a socialist economy everything was determined by the state. However, after the advent of liberalization, budget lost its sheen. As markets became more and more active, prices became dependent on the market rather than the views of some bureaucrat at South Block. However, business still has the considerable interest in it. If someone invests his vast some of money, he might want to know the environment under which it is being managed. After all, policy cannot be market determined.

But, the nation has become more literate than it was in 1991, when first doses of liberalization were provided. Now most of the people can claim that they are financially literate, and they know markets. Even if they have being bugged down by at least three to four stock market scams, including one hitting straight after the 1991. But still excitement is such that everyone wants to play with the fire. Fire after all is the symbol of power.

But every game has its rules. And in this game most important rule is ‘information’. Information which forms bedrock of any decision, any business and probable Weapon of Mass Destruction. Those who are in the business of ‘information’ certainly know how to sell one.

Spicing up! Is what you will see when you pick up any newspaper. Take out any issue of any post-budget day newspaper and you will get a more than example. There are doses, of the economic health, of the budget history, of great Indian family, of Indian resilience (whatever it might be), and of hope. There are talks about great Indian family saving the member from the trauma of recession, from the pink slips, from depression. And there are articles, articles and more articles. Articles claiming to contain inside views, claiming to contain more information, claiming to contain more insight.

The newspapers claimed that they get everything examined from every angle. The articles contain perspective. The perspectives of the people who are experienced. The perspective of the nation’s who’s who. These articles are not served alone; they are garnished with flashy graphics, informative statistics and canny quotes. It’s special after all, so it is a sellout, even if free copies of the same have to be doled out. It’s big and bountiful, likely to be grabbed by everyone. But how many actually read the entire content.

However, the question remains, is all information sold is valuable? Does government policy and bureaucratic procedures are affected by ‘opinion’ of any particular person. The answer is simple no. Such might affect judicial rulings, but governments aren’t known to give much thought to individual opinions. After all, economic policy just can’t be challenged on court.

But something has to be sold. Sell as they may, irrespective of the significance of what’s being sold. Its volume and contents, value! Anyone can derive from it. Because the people, they are experts. And when some other economic incident strikes the shores, again more information will be provided. Who cares about the eventual outcome, selling is an art. Buyer is always beware.

Who cares about eventuality, even if jingoistic feeling raised during the purchase of Corus and JRL, are now being considered stupid and out of the way. If a nation is buying, then what is the point of being not selling?

© Tarun Mitra

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Talking to the parrots of night

Do you live in Delhi? If yes, have you ever faced a prolonged power cut? Affirmative answer, Have to ever tried call there call centers? Yes, then what is your experience? If you wanted to know mine, then just read on.

Power situation is Delhi is bad, last weeks of June saw power cuts of almost 12 hours a day in most of the middle class localities. Something that the discom ‘BSES’ didn’t acknowledge, because according to their official records, and the records of top bureaucrats, there has being no power cut for more than 2 hours per day. When the situation got out of the hands, austerity measures where imposed in the city, and the Chief Minister pulled up the ‘discoms’. The ‘austerity’ measures, which include early closure of the shops, invited the ire of the traders. No wonder, power improved within days of the threat. After all, if ‘discom’ can get the government value, traders get them the volume. However, it is the situation just a week back. The main contention of retail consumer has being the non-functioning of contact centers and complaint centers. This was asked specifically by our lady CM to be corrected. It was, but how, and what was the result, then lets come the first Monday of this week.

It had being a hot and tiring day, with monsoon playing hide and seek with the city, the temperatures remained hot and humid. Usually, I don’t hit bed before 1 am, but on that day, a family friend just had too many of the drinks and was therefore forced by the family to lay himself down. He slept on my place, just beneath my poor desktop. This left me nothing to do, as he slept at 11 pm, and I can’t sleep before 1 am. For one whole hour, I kept roaming in the balcony for an hour. At 12, I hit the bed, after setting the alarm; I was closing my eyes, wooosh! At the 12:06 sharp, the power was gone. I didn’t got up immediately, I thought it might be of the regular cut for an hour, so I kept sweating out in the bed (actually I sleep in the ground, I like it that way). By 1.15 it had became unbearable, so I called their call centre, read the supposed transcript.

Me: Vikas puri **, ki light kab tak ayegi (when shall power supply be resumed to Vikas puri)
CC: BSES mein call karne ke liye dhanyawad, hold par rahiye main check karke batlata hoon (Thanks for calling BSES, Please keep on hold, I’ll check and tell)
The guy kept me waiting for a minute.
CC: Hold par bane rahne ke liye dhanyawad, Sir apke yahan par breakdown hua hai, 2 baje tak light aa jaegi (Thanks for keeping on the hold, there is a breakdown in your area, the supply will be resumed by 2 am)
Me: Thank you.
And I disconnected the phone.

At 2 am, there was still no sign of power, the street lights were still on as it was connected with a different phase. I called them again.

Me: Vikas puri **, ki light kab tak ayegi (when shall power supply be resumed to Vikas puri)
CC: BSES mein call karne ke liye dhanyawad, hold par rahiye main check karke batlata hoon (Thanks for calling BSES, Please keep on hold, I’ll check and tell)
CC: Hold par bane rahne ke liye dhanyawad, Sir hamare records mein toh apki 2 baje tak resume ho jani chahiye, main apki complaint le leta hoon. (Thanks for keeping on the hold, according to our records, your power should have resumed by 2 am. However, I am registering your complaint)
He took my complaint, and gave me the complaint number, 267.

The night was unbearable, there was no sign of wind, and I was sweating, there was no point going back to bed and suffocate again. So I decided to stay outside. At least I was able to breathe there. After waiting for 20 minutes, I called them again to ask the status.

Me: complain no. 267 ka status kya hai (What is the status of Complaint no. 267)
CC: BSES mein call karne ke liye dhayawad, 1 minutes sir, main check karke batata hoon (Thanks for calling BSES, I will check and get back to you in a minute.)
CC: Hold par bane rahne ke liye dhanyawad, Sir apke yahan par breakdown hua hai, 3 baje tak light aa jaegi, hamari koshish rahegi ki dobara apko fone na karna pade (Thanks for keeping on the hold, there is a breakdown in your area, the supply will be resumed by 3 am, we shall try that you don’t have to call back again)
Me: pakka, 2 ka 3 hua hai uska 4 na ho, pure din ka nahi soya hoon, office se ane ke baad band thaka hua hota hai aur app log drame karte rehte ho (Sure, it was 2 am earlier, now you are telling me its 3 am, don’t let it be 4 am. A person is tired after coming from office, he hasn’t slept for the day and you people are taking this as nothing)
CC: sir main apki taklif samajh sakta hoon, hum koshish karenge ki apko dobara call na karna pare (Sir, I can understand your problem, I will ensure that you don’t have to call again)
I disconnected the phone.

I was tired, and it was hot, I thought of having a beer, but there was only a single bottle and too many companions (my dad, my uncle and that inebriated family friend), I thought it would be better to stick to Red bull. It took me an hour to finish that drink, that many rumors claim, contains the juices taken from the testicles of the bull. I waited for further 10 minutes and made a call again, it was 3.05.

Me: 267
CC: kya? (What?)
Me: status, complaint no. 267
He kept me in hold for a minute.
CC: Hold par bane rahne ke liye dhanyawad, Sir apke yahan par light 3 baje tak a jaegi (Thanks for keeping on the hold, the supply will be resumed by 3 am)
Me: abhi time kya hai? (What’s the time now?)
CC: 3 baje hi hai, aa jaegi 5-10 minute mein (its, 3, it will be there in 5 to 10 minutes)
This casual approach just pissed me off. How casually he murdered the punctuality, would even have force Mahatma Gandhi to commit suicide.
Me: 3 ka matlab kya hota hai, main ek waqt ka paband banda hoon, 3 ka matlab 3.10 ya 3.15 nahi hota (What is meant by 3 am, I am a punctual person, 3 doesn’t means 3.10 or 3.15 to me)
CC: sir main apki taklif samajh sakta hoon, hum koshish karenge ki apko dobara call na karna pare, 10 minute aur wait kar lijiye (Sir, I can understand your problem, I will ensure that you don’t have to call again, please wait for 10 more minutes)
I disconnected the phone.

Since it became a sign for the things to come, I called them again after 15 minutes.

CC: BSES mein call karne ke liye dhanyawad, main **** apki kya madad kar sakta hoon (thanks for calling BSES, How can I help you)
Me: Complaint no. 267
CC: Sir, apke yahan toh 3 baje tak light aa jani chahiye, main apki complaint reforward kar deta hoon.(Sir, power should have being resumed by 3 am, I am re-forwarding the complaint.)
Me: Kya?? Reforward ka matlab kya hota hai, b***c*** apne senior ka number de (What? What do you mean by Re-forward? Give me the number of your senior)
CC: sir woh hamare pass nahi hai? (We don’t have that)
Me: apne senior koh fone de? (Connect me to your senior)
He connects me, no one picks up the phone, apparently no one is there, and the CC guy picks up the phone again.
CC: Senior line nahi hai, main apki kya madad kar sakta hoon? (Senior is not available, how can I help you?)
Me: b***c****, apne senior kaya JE number de (Give me the number of your senior or the Junior Engineer for this area)
CC: Woh apke bill mein hai (That is in your bill)
Me: b**c***, bill mein jin c**** ka number hai who b**c** kabhi fone nahi uthate (The no. provided in bill, never work)
CC: aap aise anuchit sabdo ka prayog na karein, nahi toh main apki call disconnect kar dunga. (Refrain from using foul language; otherwise I will disconnect your call)
Me: b**c** kar de
CC: aap aise anuchit sabdo ka prayog na karein, nahi toh main apki call disconnect kar dunga. (Refrain from using foul language; otherwise I will disconnect your call)
Me: b***c*** kar de, tu kisi kam ka nahi hai(disconnect it even you are of no use)
CC: aap aise anuchit sabdo ka prayog na karein, nahi toh main apki call disconnect kar dunga. (Refrain from using foul language; otherwise I will disconnect your call)
Me: saale, light ka ek toh time nahi bol raha upar se bakwass kar raha hai, sunge nahi toh kya karega, puri raat ki neend haram kar di hai (You are not sure about the time, and neither we have being able to sleep for night, and then you are of no help, and then you tell us not to abuse you)
CC: sir main apki taklif samajh sakta hoon, hum koshish karenge ki apko dobara call na karna pare (Sir, I can understand your problem, I will ensure that you don’t have to call again)
I disconnected the phone.

On a whole, I discovered a pattern; these guys at BSES use these following sentences
namaskar BSES, main *** apki kya madad kar sakta hoon
hold par bane rahne ke liye dhanyawad
main apki taklif samajh sakta hoon
BSES par call karne ke liye dhanyawad

There must have being few more, but I don’t remember them. After last call, I tried them for another 1 hour, that is, till 4 am; all I got is same answer. After that my uncle took the mantle. I was by that time was in no mood to talk to the parrots. I like them in their natural habitat, but not in a cage, where they do whatever they are being told. The cage is of money. But what it bound is truth and honesty. After sometime, even my uncle was bemused, “don’t they get tired by repeating same thing again and again.”

Power supply was resumed by 5 am in the morning. By that time, first lights of the dawn had broken through the sky.

Many a time it has being complained that the call centers either don’t provide the information or don’t have any. What is the point of having a Grievance Redressal Mechanism when the vital information is not provided to the consumers. In the above situation, I was forced to use the foul language, who wants to listen to a parrot in the middle of the night, repeating same thing again and again. At one time, they responded in manner as I was just calling them without any purpose, as if I am having fun. By the time power resumed, I had lost my all desire to sleep, but my sleep hasn’t left me. I slept for one hour from 5.30 to 6.30 and then an hour in the afternoon. I was busy during the day.

Since then there has being no major power cut till now. But I wonder, does such shoddy customer service befit to the citizen of a capital city? Will this parrot service work? Well if you ask me, may be yes, because in India its chalta hai. And many times we also behave like a parrot, in the cage of money, bounding truth and honesty.

© Tarun Mitra

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Do not stand at my Grave and weep

No, no! I am not dying, its just the title of one of my favorite poems. I don't know who the author is. I came across it in book of poetic collections. It said that it has been sent by a English soldier stationed in Northern Ireland to his parents in England. Before the letter was deliver, it is said that the telegram of the death of the soldier was received by his parents. I personally like this poem very much, as it tries to describe the nature in its true form.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush;
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

The funny side of the Annual Budget

Budget making is a serious exercise, it operose when the exercise relates to the government of one-sixth of the humanity. Adding on to this voluminous package, the modern electronic media has ensured that is reviewed by so called analyst, news readers, economist, businessmen, lay man and any other man the agencies can lay their hands upon. Just for the sake of the common man to understand that he has to pay his taxes, directly or indirectly, to fund his government’s expenditure on him. A business of real serious nature, giving someone the part of your money to spend it on you in a manner they like.
But sometimes the budget, the Finance Minister’s speech and the provisions, contains something that might tickle the funny bone. It might be his pronunciation of ‘verb’ as’ bharb’ (commonly done by the Bengalis, even my mother spell it like this only) or some liability which is in existence for more than 60 years now. Seems like a case tethered in Indian Judiciary, well not like that, but it is the debt of Rs. 300 cr. owed by Pakistan towards India as pre-partition debt.
The particular piece appeared in, which states that this liability is being carried forward since independent India’s first budget. More interesting thing is that India has met her liability of Rs. 50 cr. to Pakistan, but the good neighbor still owes this money. It may also be added that no interest is being charged on this amount and the amount has also not being inflation adjusted.
Well no body knows or shall come to know how many F-16 (or J-10 if you like Chinese) fighter Pakistanis might have bought out of this money. And for India, if it considers as a big superpower can’t just write the amount off, just as a show of generosity.

© Tarun Mitra

The data is based on the article appeared on (

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Art of Manipulation

This article explores how stock brokers manipulate the client’s accounts in order to save his own tax liability.
How do the brokers manipulate can be explain herein, the brokers would show their own trades or trades of their proprietary trading accounts under the codes of less attractive clients. By doing this they are able to manipulate the profit positions of the day trader and hence reducing their tax burden. These transactions occur without the authorization of the clients.
Such manipulation was unearthed by income tax department and has the potential of Rs. 800 Crore tax evasion.
Investors have made complaints, stock exchange and Sebi needs to take note of these practices and introduce real-time alerts to investors. Real time alerts can be like a SMS being sent to the investor whenever any trade is done or being executed in his account.

© Tarun Mitra

This article draws its data from the article “The Art of Manipulation” by Rajesh Gajra appeared on Page 15 of Businessworld magazine, Volume 29 Issue 5, For the week 16-22 June 2009, Released on 15 June 2009