The Other Side of Life: A FreeRider's Perspective

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

15th August 1947: What a day that would have been

Just read an article:"25 Days that changed India" in this issue of The Week. Somehow the following incident has stirred me. It writes about 15th August 1947:
The national flag had been raised at the War Memorial at India Gate in the evening."Just as the flag was unfurled, light rain began to fall," wrote Alan Campbell-Johnson, Mountbatten's Press Secretary."And a rainbow appeared in the sky, matching the saffron, white and green of the flag. If Hollywood had added that last touch, we would all have complained that once again they were overdoing it."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Rang De Black....

When reviews of Rang De Basanti are flowing left, right and centre, I could't resist writing this one.

The movie is undubtedly well made and technically superior. The performances are good. Aamir Khan excels himself. It is not difficult for him to improve perfection. But the man who steals the show singlehandedly is Atul Kulkarni. His transformation from a communalist to a nationalist is simply superb. Also A R rehman music is great.

But all the effort seems wasted. The movie is entertaining and timepass but thats it. If it was a movie meant to give any message, it fails miserably. I don't understand what the message is still now. What was it trying to tell. And to compare the movie to Dil Chahta Hai and Swades is totally stupid. Though many ppl mayn't agree with what swades told, but everybody will agree that it had certain message and thinking behind it. But not with Rang De Basanti.

It seems more of a revenge drams with popcorn nationalism inserted in between. The MiG 21 issue that it raises is valid but the solution it suggested looks straight out of some comic book. First the protagonist tries some violent means to prove their point and in the end dies. Seen that b4. Heard it b4. Well thats what I m telling you. And the radio part is oft times repeated in Hindustani and Phir bhi Dil hai hindustani. Come to think of Hindustani(Kamal Hassan) it has somewhat similar theme but it was executed much better.

The worst part is that they target individuals in the process and never looks as if they intend to change the system. The way we saw in Yuva. Believe me if it had been some Sunny Deol movie we would have passed it on as something runoff the mill stuff. It is only bcoz of Aamir that the movie is being talked abt.

Though as I had said previously music was superb but the songs somehow were picturised all in the same way and halted the progress of the movie. But cann't complain abt that because movie was anyway very slow.

And I frankly fail to understand why there is so much hohulla over the movie. Why it is being pitted as 1 of the best movie ever made? Why 5* reviews???

So watch Yuva or Swades once more. And if you want to see a enjoyable youth flick, go for DCH.
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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Dynasty Politics

I read an article in todays' TOI regarding who would be a better candidate for Congress: Rahul Gandi/Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra. My heart sank. How can India's largest and oldest political party has no good candidate among its ranks that it again has to go back to the family. I m not endorsing policies or ideologies of any party or anything but I am simply raising the issue: Is birth in a family only criteria in Indian politics. It happened for Indira Gandhi after Shastriji's death, for Rajiv Gandhi after Indira Gandhi's death and is happening again. After Sonia Gandh's refusal to accept the hot seat, now the morally handicapped politicians are looking to 30 something Rahul Gandhi for their survival.
Now even leadership of BJP is in doldrums but atleast it can be said to be a merit based party where a person has to fight his way from grassroots. And I am against the Communists but have to applaud that it is a merit based party.
I am so sad that I was not born in Gandhi family otherwise I too had been a primeministerial candidate. Come to think of it whats the difference between myself and Rahul Gandhi except obviously the "heredity". We both must be having same knowledge of Indian politics and India(maybe I would be having more). I have even cleared IITJEE and CAT which Rahul will never be able to do. I know that is not criteria in politics but than what is?
It hurts simply because there are some leaders of exceptional calibre within Congress itself. But they have to stoop to such low levels as to go after a family for their survival is surprising. Well in a country where there is so much competition even for low grade clerical jobs, that there is no competition for the highest level post is appaling.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

IITs: Will they remain Centres of Learning

The placements at all the Indian Institutes of Technology(IITs) have simply been superb this year. The campus was visited by a number of consulting firms, investment banks and equity research firms. It is a great achievement for a technical institute in a third world country to show such a performance.

But as an IIT alumni and a management college student, I have my own reservations. If I look at my batch(2001-02) at IIT Bombay, I see that people are into various fields like higher research, management, civil services, entreprenurship and even politics(see the post below). At our time we had our first interaction with placement office only towards the end of 4th yr(I was in dual degree program). Till then we analysed and thought about various alternative careers available for us. Joining a job immediately after IIT was a least priority.

Infact there were people who talked about opening a startup and some of us didn't use to believe them at that point of time. But now I can see that some of them have actually opened a startup and are performing well. Those who started preparing for civil services in final/semifinal year and now are successful IAS/IPS/IFS. I never thought that Tanmay Rajpurohit and Ajit Shukla will ever enter into politics. But they have..

What I strongly feel about is that IITs should remain centres of learning. IIT system should always encourage students to venture into uncharted territories. They should not become placement agencies as most of our management institutes have become. Aim of IIT is to instill a spirit of questioning and independent thinking in students. Students should organize and participate in extracurrics out of enthusiasm and for learning rather than getting a point in their Resume.

Anyways I admit that most of my fears are unfounded. At our times also there were few who rejected McKinsey & Cap One to go for Phd. And the traditions will continue...

~as always comments are welcome
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Monday, January 23, 2006

May you be tough as a Rock

Well we always have thought "Is this the type of government that we deserve". All of us have some point or other in life has become frustrated at the criminalization and illiteracy of our politicians. Most of us don't vote because we don't find any party/candidate suitable. Now atleast we seem to have a better choice. Paritrana, a party floated by some iit graduates, does offer us some hope. It has Tanmay Rajpurohit, B.Tech from IITB, MS(GeorgiaTech), MA(Economics,New York); Ajit Shukla, B.Tech(IITB); Amit Beesen, B.Tech(IITB);Chandrashekhar, BTech(IITK) as its mebers. Well never seen such impressive lineup before.

Literally Paritrana implies
the complete relief implying the end of the very cause of distress
. And it intends to do so.

Having interacted with most of these guys, especially Ajit during my IITB days, I can tell you noone can be more suitable for this endevour. It is not if they are some bunch of frustrated people, who had failed to cope upto the corporate culture and competitive life, who having nothing else t do in life, started a political party. Their aim was clear from IITB days. So the plan is well thought out and not some spontaneous, night out effort.

Yes they are inexperienced. But I feel that it is a positive point for them. Most of the current young politicians are from political family only, and so are used to this dirt and corruption in politics. They have passively internalized this in themselves and so don't put fight to clean the system. But Paritrana guys, having fresh outlook to life are all set to question all assumptions in politics.

They may fail. But is not the experience worth trying. When most of us just criticize politics and system from outside, there have emerged few people who wish to go inside the system and try to clean it. But lets hope they do succeed. Our and our childeren's future depends on it.

Any comments are welcome.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Myself with Mt. Everest behind