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Too early for tomorrow... our pet project

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


As I glanced through today's TOI, I found several articles worth sharing with the people who do not take the TOI (or who take but don't read it).

The subject of this article has been going for a while at Esplanade. (Of course TOI reached about a year late and is now claiming credits.) The Grand hotel blocked off a stretch of the road for the vehicles of it's guests only. As it is, the footpath along the stretch is at the blessed mercy of the hawkers. So, the pedestrians often have to get on to the road. And if the pedestrians happen to venture into the Grand Hotel's cordoned off area, they are summarily shoved off by the security personnel. Serves them right that the KMC is imposing a fine on them.

This article substantiates my last post. It is only a matter of time before the government gives in to the demands of the transport operators and increases the fares. (All ironies intended in the italicised 'gives in' in both posts).

This is a follow up of this. (Note the wrong spelling of Fr. Siby in both articles. The print media has a knack for getting the spellings of places and people wrong, while the audio visual media almost always gets the pronunciation wrong. And they are arrogant enough not to correct them. Of course way back when I was in class 7 I thought it was Fr. C.B., short for some unpronounceable south Indian name. But then I was 12 years old and was surely not a journalist). The students of DBL who were oppressed under the rule of Fr. Siby Joseph Vadakel (he was vice-principal there for some time) will be the happiest if the haughty and arrogant brat of a priest is brought to book and taught a lesson for once. But, I feel sorry for those students of DBL who became a victim of Fr. Siby's whims and whose lives were shattered forever. But the media do not consider DBL worthy of news space as it is unlikely to increase circulation/TRP (why! one had called it Don Bosco Bally!) It is only when the sons of influential people get affected that it becomes worth a mention. (The students of DBL love to believe that Fr. Siby was packed off to a centre at Azimganj, where there was no toilet and he had had to poo in the open, after his unpopular stint at DBL)

This has caused great delight to me. Perhaps now BCCI will stop over-commercialisation of cricket and let the game be at peace and be enjoyed for just the incidents on field.

Note this. And I quote: '(PM) Says Reforms Need Of The Hour As Govt Can't Resort To Populist Steps'. Excellent Mr. Prime Minister, you have come to terms with reality (conveniently forgetting the socialist principles of the nation). But, I must say you are being a ruddy two faced son of a she-dog (the word starts with b and rhymes with rich) in saying so. You forget all about reforms and not taking populist steps when you woo the minorities, SCs, STs, and OBCs, don't you Mr. Prime Minister? They must be doled out sops regularly and their quotas increased so that they suck up to you (and your Madam) during the elections, must they not be Mr. Prime Minister?

And finally this. Jug Suraiya writes sense more often than not. He correctly highlights the importance of the knowledge of English from a global perspective. The opposition of English by the likes of Mulayam Singh accusing it of being a colonial hangover reeks of political self-centralism. I was impressed to learn that Mayawati supports the knowledge of English. (Jug Suraiya is a more reliable source for such information than the other blessed people who write in the TOI). Whether the support is to counter Mulayam Singh, I do not know. Whatever be the reasons, the end justifies the means (in this case at least).

O no, not again.

The Central Government has hiked the price of petrol once again. And I guess that a bus fare hike is in the offing in Kolkata. The process is simple: every time there is a hike in the prices of the fuels, the transport unions (leftists through necessity of survival) call a transport strike and soon the government gives in to their demands and increases the bus fares. The commuters do not have a union (they prefer the secret ballot than brandishing their political affiliations in public) and hence there is hardly any protest.

The government must think of alternative methods of running the public transport before the situation spirals out of control. It cannot go on increasing the fares while the spending capability of the common man does not improve. While CNG and LPG as media to power the transport are available, there has been very few takers for them. However, as these too are non-renewable, research has to be undertaken in long-haul solar powered, battery powered, nuclear powered vehicles.

As a temporary measure to check the burden on the common man, the government must ear-mark two categories of petroleum product users: one essential and the other luxury. The public transport, cooking gas and kerosene dispensed through the fair price shops must fall in the first category. These users must be provided the daily doses of fuel at a subsidised price. The second category must comprise the shopping malls (running gen-sets), private vehicles, airlines, etcetera which may obtain the fuels at a premium. This will ensure that only the people who can afford to are made to pay higher (and also might bring down the pollution level).

Yes, there may be pilferage on a large scale. But, a government is supposed to prevent malpractices: tamper-proof locks may be fitted on petrol tanks, fuel-cards may be issued to ration fuels.

The means are present. The will is missing.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Harry Potter and his reader from Belur.

I just finished reading the Harry Potter series of books, including a non-authentic but convincing copy of the fifth book. (All pdf ebooks obtained for gratis).

Even a year ago, I was strongly against the idea of reading these books. I never thought that I could comprehend the idea of magical fairy tales. Wand waving and incantations never really got to me. However, I had watched 2 of the 6 films that have been made based on the series: one at school and the other with friends at Nandan.

Shortly after the release of the 6th film (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince), my friends forced me to agree to watch it. We decided on a budget hall. But the hall was a disappointment. The projector was out of focus, the projector bulb dim. The sound was more that of a rowdy crowd. I understood neither head nor tail of the film. That's when I decided that I am not watching any Harry Potter film until I have read the books. As soon as I reached home, I downloaded the entire series via bit-torrent and started reading it. As I began reading and had done the first few pages, I realised that this was no joke. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. As if the wizards had cast a spell on me. I could not leave it. However, academic engagements delayed the process and it took me almost a year to complete the series. Now I crave for more. I await Rowling's next books as much as I await Dan Brown's next books.

I strongly recommend the series for children and adults alike. (Just look out for the wrong copy of the 5th book)