Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tasty Pani Puri

Say 'Pani Puri' and there are many people whose mouth will water.

But, after reading this, not many will be able to digest it though.

So much for the people who swear by the taste of the roadside pani puri.  Sorry!

Hyderabad a U.S. visa fraud hub

This news item reminded me of a chat I had with a friend who was going to the U.S.  for higher studies.  He told me about how his father's bank account statement would not suffice to get a visa as his father had an account in a cooperative bank only, according to the agent.  This despite his father being a land lord and having enough money in his account.  Only nationalised bank statements were allowed.

In this regard, I asked him about students whose parents would not have a fat balance.  He told me that the agent would create such accounts and give them the statement.  Land records(not belonging to them) as well to show that their is enough money available at home in case of trouble i.e. funding studies would not be a problem.  However, many of such students would have to earn their living in the U.S. and study as well in reality.

So, this news item that Hyderabad is one of the visa fraud hubs is no new news. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ban freebies

Does a bus/train driver get a one crore house for driving his passengers safely throughout his career, which is a matter of life and death.  Or does a teacher get free railway passes for having guided students in the right path.  Does a pilot get free airline tickets for landing his passengers safely in trouble ?  For that matter, what does our hockey team or the kabbadi team get.  Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi became ATP No.1 two days after India won the cricket world cup.  Still, that news was on the last but one page and that too one small piece.

BMWs, one crore worth houses, free airline and railway tickets for a lifetime not to mention the lakhs that is given away by each government for these cricketers.  Makes one think.  One day, a whole generation will try to play only cricket - then what will happen ?

Oh, for my students and others, I am not a fan of cricket.  For me, especially after the match fixing period, cricket is a staged drama.  Okay, it is a game.  Nothing greater than any other.  Somehow, we as a nation have got hooked on to it like addicts do to drugs.  A word against cricket in class, and there are students who wouldn't utter a word otherwise, stand up and question you.  They get so offended that they tell you it hurts them.  Some turn pink on their cheeks.  So much passion.  Passion I tell them is good.  Actually very good.  Wish they had 1/10th of it for their own lives and their own careers.

This clamour among the ruling class to give freebies to all these people is not understandable to me atleast when other sports, even our national sport, is rotting for want of funds.  Athletes don't have good training facilities, those who were have no funds to take care of them in case of injury that paralysis their life forever.  Cricketers already earn so much.  And then, have more. 

Adding salt to the wound is the call for giving Sachin the Bharat Ratna.  That was offending.  He is a good player no doubt.  He has brought cheer to many of us with his bat and helped the country by being in the team.  However, he is not different.  He asked for customs relaxation for his imported car, and now for extra floor space to build a gym.  He is given more than what a player is given, more than what sports persons winning in other games like tennis and badminton get.  But a Bharat Ratna.

The question is how does the government find the money to do all this, and yet not find enough money for social welfare.  And, what right do they have to use funds in this way ?  Why is it that we as citizens don't question ?  Why is it that many villages don't have means for drinking water and sanitation due to lack of funds - villages in states where governments have announced awards ?  And then the cricketers.  If they said, that what extra they receive will be given away for a cause, I assure you that all these people will stop giving away freebies.  But which cricketer would do that ???  Not one. 

Questions, no answers.  Only one mad thing called cricket.

PAC, JPC, CBI, ....

First it was the PAC.  Then, the CBI.  Then, the JPC.  Too many in a basket and they start fighting.  The boundaries no longer exist.  That the goal is the same does not matter.  It is clamoring for who is bigger, mightier.  For us on this side, the tax paid going waste makes us revolt.  How much of money is being spent on so many commissions - so many people, each in different committees.  And how long are they going to heat their seats..  like any other commission does.

Then, there are the people.  Some from business houses that stood at one time for ethics and social responsibility reduced to nothing overnight.  What champions of that age built over a few generations squandered away on a whim.  What else should I say ?  Then, there are those we know are masters of the game.  Who walk in and out of inquiries as though it were an everyday matter.  So much so that, a visit by the CBI was claimed as a routine matter.  Nothing to bother about.

Above the loss of money on these scams,  some more is thrown away on what I sometimes feel as staged dramas.  If the same was divided and given to some villages, they will have water, solar lights, roads and drains built.

The drama will go on till the public gets satiated or tired of it.  Then, once it passes from public memory, it will be conveniently swept under the carpet.  By that time, the actors in these plays would have grown fat.  And then, the wait for another of these PACs and JPCs.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In support of Anna Hazare

A Gandhian, following the Gandhian way is sitting in protest.  He is on a 'fast unto death' to cleanse our society of something that pervades every aspect of our life.  And the congress government which says it continues the legacy of the independence movement is asking him not to do so(Gandhiji's words of dismantling the congress after independence should have been followed - he knew what was to come).  I remember how Medha Patkar was evicted, for trying to do the same for a social cause.  And the Prime Minister tells he is disappointed with Anna Hazare.  Who should be disappointed with whom ?

Can't be there.  So, is there something on the net related to this we can support and show our solidarity ? 

With you sir.