Monday, May 15, 2006

About random things seen last week

I have prefaced several of my blogs with a similar blurb. This one is no exception. Actually, it has been quite a while since I wrote something in English. Lest I forget the language, I am just working my fingers on the keyboard for this one.

It is not particularly on any topic - though I might get to one by the time I finish this. I might have alluded to the movie Finding Forrester in one of my earlier jottings but I suppose this is the time to bring it out again. Sean Connery, playing the title character, exhorts young Jamal Wallace to just type whatever comes to his mind. And this is to stimulate the act of writing. I am actually trying the same thing here. But I don't know if this will necessarily undergo any editing before I post it out for the world to read. Whether the world reads it or not is a completely different question. I don't even know whether I am being helped by this act - but I just try. Just in case you forget, this blog was not named Random Ramblings for nothing.

The last week in Bangalore has been an interesting one in terms of many things.

Weather for one. Rain has generally managed to plug the mercury down to tolerable levels. Though the after-effects of this rain were invigorating, it was not very comfortable when it was actually raining. I had left my shoes just outside the door of a relative's house - water rarely reaches that part of the house- but in less than twenty minutes, my shoes with the socks were completely drenched, which left me driving my car in soggy socks.

While rain is all right, traffic is not. Let me just stop there without going further on that much hated subject.

TV was the next interesting thing last week. Bangalore has been full of posters and hoardings advertising the launch of Zee Television's Kannada venture. It launched on the eleventh of May. The actual inauguration is slated to happen today. Though I should have written about this in Kannada, I will just finish it up in English for now. Zee Kannada has novelty. Both E-kannada and Udaya have developed distinct characteristics of their own, and Zee to survive has had to do this. Zee-K comes across as a very sophisticated but urban-centric channel. I did not see anything till now that showed any rural area specific content. But it is good news to Kannadigas. We have quite a good choice now.

On another note, I subscribe to India Today. Every month, they send me a "Living in Bangalore" supplement to the regular magazine. Anybody who has been in Bangalore for more than ten years will be quite surprised on seeing this supplement. The surprise - I must clarify - is not all pleasant. The supplement is almost always about some store in the Leela Galleria or some fancy pub/restaurant that I haven't heard of. Living in Bangalore, I sincerely feel, is not limited to dining out and enjoying oneself. The Bangalore this magazine covers is not my Bangalore. Or, am I too much of an old Bangalorean to be having this reaction? Another interesting monthly supplement I get is "Spice". This, too, is full of articles on exotic vacations and picture-blurbs on nice things worth lakhs and crores of rupees. India Today is probably bending backwards to make it look like an "international" magazine - which means that they all look the same. Luckily, the reporting in the main magazine is still worth something, which is actually why I have still kept the subscription. But the question I get on seeing this UP-UP market stuff is what is a typically middle/upper middle class magazine doing with articles on Aston Martins and Rolls Royces? While it is definitely enjoyable, a news magazine, in my opinion, should be more down to earth. I hope I am not coming across as a Communist or something.

Which brings me to another interesting discussion. Over lunch, a few colleagues were generally discussing India's show in Australia to promote the next Commonwealth games. Aishwarya Rai, I learnt, took what is a pretty nice amount of money - three crore rupees - to prance about on the stage for less than a few minutes. Priyanka Chopra and a few other "artists" were similarly compensated for their effort. The question in my mind was - when you're doing an act for your country, could you have been a bit more considerate by insisting on no remuneration for said act? It would have been OK if the Indian Government had paid for the appropriate conveyance and lodging of these artistes, but the remuneration? When I expressed this, a few of my colleagues looked at me in surprise. They told me about the free market economy and how I was acting like a Socialist by even venturing to suggest that these artists should have respectfully declined remuneration. I think that free market economics and patriotism are pretty orthogonal to each other. So I still hold the view that these rich and pretty artists could have actually afforded not to accept the money. I don't know, but I am quite interested in knowing I what others feel about this.

Last week saw quite a bit of drama on reservation across the country. Arjun Singh and Kamal Nath formed the face of the villain - caste politics - here. They actually want to increase reservations in the education sector and wait ! That's not all! They also want reserve jobs in the private sector and are willing to enact necessary legislation if the companies don't volunteer! While reservations are good, caste based reservations are not. Reservation based on the economic status should, in my opinion, be encouraged. But not in private companies that are trying their best to survive! While the ministers should be shamed into oblivion for trying to divide the country yet again on caste lines, the doctors have done themselves proud by being the first organized lot to protest this dangerous act. Clips of policemen lathi-charging medicos wearing white coats were aired multiple times on television. I am, as always,interested in knowing what others feel.

English, it appears, is back on my mind for now. Writing this piece has been like a nice warm up to further writing in English. OK then, till the next one....

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