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Archive for May, 2010


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At, a report that is carried by many other Indian news sources, about Pakistan troops opening fire in Pooch, a sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir — Violation of cease fire by firing mortar bombs and rockets. Also mentioned is a jawan on the Indian side who was critically injured.

Dawn, Pakistan’s premier newspaper reports a very similar story at its website — There was fire yes, but “due to unprovoked firing by Indians”. In fact, a Pakistani soldier “embraced martyrdom” in all this.

Both highly respected publications in their own part of the world, reporting the same incident with two entirely different versions.

Who were these soldiers, one who “embraced martyrdom” on the other side of the fence and the Indian jawan who was “critically injured”? What is the truth? When will this stop? We will never know.

Written by aditya kumar

May 24th, 2010 at 12:37 am

Jumping the Gun

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Jumping the gun?

Caption: Pietersen and Morgan leave the ground after they won the T20 World cup (AP Photo)

England has just reached the semi-final of the T20 world cup. They may not may not win the World Cup from here but certainly, this is their best feat since the 2005 Ashes win.

By the way, you see something wrong in the caption of the picture, don’t you? Someone at Times Of India has been over enthusiastic of England’s prospects!


Meanwhile, another “jumping the gun” could be happening closer home — TOI reports that Dhoni may be sacked as the T20 and ODI captain. Why?

BCCI seems to be going beyond control. If this is true, Dhoni could probably be the first “domestic” casualty of BCCI’s autocratic nature that seems to be bothering everyone dealing with the sports body. The unsaid rule within Indian cricket has become this — If you want to play for the country or be considered for the job, you never criticize the BCCI. Anyone saying even a word against the body has to face the music. How do you expect the players to perform like this? The other day, Dhoni’s lame excuse of Late night IPL parties while defending the team for the World Cup debacle already had some people fuming in the BCCI. For all we know, that could be either the catalyst or the final nail in the coffin for Dhoni’s seemingly eminent end of Captaincy days.

In India’s (and Pakistan’s) cricket, it is thought that changing the cricket captain is the solution to most team problems. Dhoni could end up being the fall guy here. Just like Lalit Modi, off the field. People like Modi and Dhoni did not bring failure to the system, rather, they were a product of a failed system of Cricket (mis)administration. If anyone, BCCI should take and accept the blame for the mess Indian cricket is in. Removing Dhoni would yield absolutely nothing. I think as a captain, he has, more often than not, delivered the goods. That is where the BCCI could be jumping the gun. I have said it earlier, if there is something that the BCCI needs urgently, its a leader that believes in retrospection. And I don’t see it happening.

Written by aditya kumar

May 14th, 2010 at 6:10 am

Posted in Journalism

Cementing Bonds

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The Shore point Inn motel stands just the way I would have imagined a motel to be, thanks to Hollywood. They don’t have motel like these anymore, Nick, the motel owner, told me later. It has a sort of, mini tower for a sign board full of neon. They don’t allow it anymore — the signs to be this big and the rooms to be in the layout that they are. Wide, spread across in a “U”, with ample parking in between. In fact, there’s a term for this — Its “Grandfathered”. The rules are exempted for certain situations and Nick’s motel qualifies for it. Well, looking at Nick, he qualifies for it too. At an ideal age for Grandfatherhood, he takes care of this place like a baby.

Sloppy planning and bad luck worked out together for me to land here, at the Shore point Inn. Some guy at American Express messed up my hotel reservation and the usual place here that accommodates people from my office in India was full so a colleague had to do this reservation for me here. He chose this place because he drove by it everyday to work. At a little past midnight, as I returned back to my room after my first meal in a foreign land, I met Nick outside his office, cherishing the misty cool midnight breeze. We ended up talking for about half an hour, subjects ranging from Jinnah to Secularism.

3 days and a few more insightful conversations later, Nick knocked on my door at almost 8, one evening. It was a sight I won’t ever forget and it was one of the most pleasant surprises ever — He stood there holding a what turned out to be a big slice of Fillet fish, sautéed with garlic and lemon in Olive oil on a Styrofoam plate. Trying his best to be unintrusive, Nick handed it over to me and told me that he had thought maybe I’d want to try something American (well, Greek actually, but now American since the cuisine here is multicultural anyway). He owed it to his roots in Greece, his parents who came here and made a life. So, a fisherman friend got him a good catch, one of the best of the season and a prized possession — A Striped Bass. Classic New York Fish, made up by a Greek gentleman and served a generous part of it to an Indian, who was probably a couple of generations younger to him but nevertheless, someone who’d appreciate the gesture.

A couple of days later, one of Nick’s helpers who happens to be a young man from Mexico, Nick himself and I — we got our hands dirty while doing cement work. The wooden fence’s bonds along the Motel boundary had to be strengthened, as the days to come could be very windy. He told me how important this seemingly simple activity was. There he was at it again, taking care of his Motel like his own baby, with his own hands.

When I left Shore Point, I told him that I would keep dropping by. He told me he could tell me the places to visit around here and what lanes to avoid in New York. Honestly, I don’t think I would be using that information much. Visiting places around here could just remain a dream. Especially for someone like me who doesn’t know driving and a pathetic public transport system like in here. But Sunday morning cement bonding work and Striped Bass, in any form, could be enough incentive for another visit.

My first few days in America. And bonds were built.

Written by aditya kumar

May 13th, 2010 at 10:44 am

Make Believe Green Plastic

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There is this very unhealthy trend (and I know this is a part of the “mall culture” we find ourselves in) gaining ground in India. Go to any mall for grocery shopping and see how the helper at the billing section arranges every little thing that you have bought in crisp, bright polythene bags. I could buy 3 soaps, 1 bag of flour and 1 diet coke and they would be packed in 3 plastic bags at the counter.

Often, I have tried to counter this by a couple of ways. I ask the guy at the counter to put it all in “one” bag. The idea is to minimize the usage of the plastic bags. The result, always invariably, is that the guy would continue packing the way he wants it, each “class” of item bought in its own separate bag and then, here’s the thing – pack all of these bags into one big bag. So, I end up using more bags than I would have if I had kept mum.

What is so hard to understand in this whole arrangement that I wished, I do not understand.

Another way I have tried (and failed) is to use a cloth bag. A mall, in Madivala, Bangalore has a set of cloth bags at the billing counter. The proudly encourage you to buy it because they say it helps the environment to shop in cloth bags. I could buy it but when I come back to the mall the next time with the cloth bag to use for shopping, they ask me to leave it at the entrance, which is at the 1st floor, because I could be such a shoplifter, for all we know, you see. And then, I have to get my items billed at the 3rd floor, make the guy at the counter understand that I do NOT want to use plastic bags and carry all my stuff way back to the 1st floor where I have kept my cloth bag, at the baggage counter. And after all this, well, I am just trying to be planet friendly — would you believe it?

And in case, I decide to use the plastic bags (just like all the lesser mortals out there), I could still help save the environment. Because the mall uses this special polythene bag that is good for the environment and can be recycled! I just need to pay Re.1 for it at the counter!

I mean, who do you think you are bullshitting, is my question. Is it too hard to understand that you don’t care a damn about the environment and you are using this “green-polythene-green-planet” or whatever-it-is propaganda eventually to cut your own costs so that you can make some money by charging a Rupee for a polythene bag that a customer cannot help but buy because you don’t even let him carry his own bag — plastic or cloth, within your shopping place?

But maybe I know now where this all came from. I have been in the US for a week now and have had to visit a few super stores to setup home and I see the same liberal use of polythene here, in the exact same way as it is now happening back home in Bangalore.

Begs the question — why do we blindly follow the west, doesn’t it?

Written by aditya kumar

May 11th, 2010 at 8:55 am

Bon jovi and I

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Here’s one little fact that I am glad to be a part of: Bon Jovi and I have something in common.

On Friday, 30th of April, I took a flight (and then a connecting flight) from Bangalore to Newark, USA. I am glad to let my friends here know that I am on my first overseas job assignment, here in New Jersey, USA. It has been a very happening week, a lot of surprises and new things to look forward to and finally, I am making myself at home, here in the town of Sayreville, in the state of New Jersey. This new development would help me to gain a whole new perspective and that should help my writing and my blog here. For the next few months, expect posts with an American-Indian viewpoint (and the new category: America). It should be interesting.

But where does Bon Jovi fit in all this? Well, Wikipedia tells me that the rocker spent his boyhood here, where I am now, in Sayreville. Well, who knows, maybe he penned down “I’ll Be There for You” on these streets.

Written by aditya kumar

May 8th, 2010 at 11:23 am

Posted in America,Personal