Happy New Year

Linda Gates

Did you read an interview with Linda Gates? She noticed a similarity between Indian women and African women. She said that both love their children very much. Was she implying that something was wrong with that? And that they must love making money more?

The Republic Day

Today "Jana Gana Mana" will be sung all over India,
yet it will only be understood in West Bengal.
For those interested here is the English translation by the poet himself.

Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people,
Dispenser of India's Destiny
Thy name rouses the hearts,
Of Punjab, Sind, Gujarat and Maratha,
Of Dravida, Orissa and Bengal,
It echoes in the hills of the Vindhya and Himalayas,
Mingles in the music of Jamuna and Ganga,
And is chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea,
They pray for thy blessings,
and sing thy praise,
The saving of all people,
waits in thy hand,
Thou dispenser of India's Victory,
Victory, Victory, victory to thee..

This is not the end of the great hymn it is only the first of 5 stanzas.

The 22nd of January

Anything special? - The one dayer of the Tri series at Sydney. 11 am at Lal Kurti - some strange things were happening there were crowds wherever a TV was on, they were smiling ear to ear and in a very animated state. That same current rippled down the street from shop to shop . What had happened ? Yuvraj had hit 20 runs in a single over. Such excitement I cannot remember even in the days when it was routine for crowds to stand around radio sets and later TV sets in shops in the Bazars. Now of course everyone has a TV set, even the migrant labor come with a TV set and get their Electric supply from the nearest Pan wala.

Three Cheers for Indo Pakistan talks . What a great beginning for the New Year! And the Sensex - don't forget the Sensex - believe it or not it is the best mood indicator. It is down now but not for long..

Here is some wishful thinking for Ye Olde Hometown. I wish the Electricity is available at least during the main working hours of the day. I also wish that the drains stink a little less .. And that the Safai Karamcharis are more visible on the roads than on the local TV channel demanding higher wages. I also wish that the streets especially in areas around the Ghanta Ghar are swept at least once a year. By the way during the last year has anyone spotted a Safi Karamchari with a broom anywhere at all?

When they build fountains and 1 foot high sidewalks for beautification purposes, they should remember a street lined with colourful dustbins and hedges and a street swept at least twice a day will do more for an area than any number of fountains on crossroads which appear to have been designed by the contractor himself.

Have you been reading the latest advertisements persuading you to pay your taxes. Mumbai Pune Express Highway, Metro train in Delhi, a Hydroelectric project somewhere else ( quite possibly in working condition ) . There is of course no mention of where most of it goes - in pockets of the likes of Mayawati, Badal, Jayalalitha and countless others who never make it big time. And happily ( for those who divert public money into their pockets) it is not a few crores. No it is not hundreds of crores it is thousands of crores. I hope you did not miss the NDTV ( Big Fight?) program about 'entrapment'. It seems there is something illegal about catching embezzlers. 'It is the law' said Kapil Sybal eminent brilliant lawyer. And the law of whatever vintage cannot be changed ? Who are we to tamper with 'laws' bequeathed to us by plunderers? God bless our motherland.

Any debate about who is richer Industrialists or Ministers? In Punjab it is very obvious that the city which creates the wealth does not get to spend it. Just compare Chandigarh and Ludhiana. Chandigarh is a Government town and Ludhiana the Industrial one. Now you know whose welfare gets top priority in the scheme of things.

And another thing about those taxes. Which tax are they referring to? If it is income tax, then that contributes an insignificant amount to the total revenue. In fact it barely covers the cost of collecting it. If it is excise and other duties. I would actually pay to get to know how to avoid them. How can you avoid the 50% or more tax you pay for petrol, or other unknown amounts for just about everything you buy, from matchboxes, toothpastes , Soaps, to gas cylinders and cell phone bills. Maybe you know of some payments you make where no tax is paid. How else can 'ministers' be accompanied by an enormous retinues just to investigate welcoming arches and fresh whitewash.

Petrol Price increase when they are reducing prices elsewhere? "No reasons given" that is what the Newsreader said. Conversion from Dollars per barrel to Rupees per litre is not a straight forward calculation, but is it so complex that it cannot be revealed? Maybe you are luckier than me and have seen it mentioned in some newspaper or magazine ( in the last 2 decades)?
The increase is about one Rupee. When a noise is made they will decrease it by 5 paise ( it is for this kind of ability the babus are selected ). No such thing as a free lunch? That does not hold true in our country for the lucky people who constitute the Government. When they give the public's own money back in the form of concessions, it is called - sops and electionering in the press.

The army exits from The Red Fort

High Time ! They have been there since 1857!!! The reason they were deposited there is always padded with verbal cotton wool. It was standard British army practice ( of that time ) to desecrate plunder and destroy, infact the pay of the soldiers was derived from this. Thus after vanquishing the mutineers they destroyed the palace of Bahadur Shah Zafar and jeeringly constructed army barracks there. They did similar things during the War of Independence in the US. They would make churches into stables.

Wonder when Ahmednagar Fort ( conquered by Lord Wellesly - later the Duke of Wellington who defeated Napolean) will also be vacated? Jawahar Lal Nehru was imprisoned there and it should rightly also be under ASI. Yet some people ask what is wrong with doing exactly as the British did? Are we monkeys?

Bada Din

"Bada Din" ( Big Day) is approaching fast. You rarely hear that term, but it is still used. During "British Days" there were ques at the Bakeries for baking cakes. These days a lot of Kirana stores stock dry fruit for Christmas cakes. By the way the first Bakery was put up in Meerut for the Soldiers by Baden-Powell the founder of the Boy scouts movement. Neither are remembered today. Thanks to Cable TV, a lot of people put up Christmas trees and exchange presents because their children want them to do so . Many stores now keep Christmas decorations.

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October, September, August, July, June, May, April, February , January