Bharat Bandh

Despite knowing about the bandh, I should say that I underestimated the shutdown today. When the milk / newspaper / essentials arrive at your doorstep and when the maid servant show up, you are immune to the issues outside of your home – at least for a finite period. Had I been working from home today, I would not have realised about the impact to the common people. Only when I was driving to work in the near-empty roads of Bangalore did I realise the “support” that common men had lent to the organisers of the shut down. As the restaurants and bakeries had downed the shutters, the only people that were open for business were the mango sellers by the roadside. Hope they were able to make some money to earn their bread.

It has been really a long time since I experienced anything like large scale bandh / shutdown. While some of the shut downs – typically called by the opposition will fizzle out due to the strength of the government machinery, no party could afford to dissociate from causes like petrol price hike, reservation issue, cauvery water problem (in TN) etc. What purpose do these shut downs serve? By getting the country to a grinding halt, aren’t you weakening its already fragile economy further? Well, if the logic holds good in India, so many things would have been different for good.

Despite all this tall talk, I would say that this kind of unexpected break from the routine is oneof the joys of living in India. Although I am attending work today, the fact that it is a shutdown outside makes things a little different and that I could cancel few scheduled meetings has given me some breathing space.

KKR and their Celebrations

I am glad that the IPL is over. At least, I can focus on winning my daily bread. With the amount of games that are being played all through the year, I hardly watch any cricket match and IPL is no exception. But with the IPL, the buzz gathers momentum as the tournament progresses and when it comes to the play-off stages, I take an interest in how Chennai Super Kings fare. As they never fail to make up to the play-offs, I end up watching the tail end of the tournament and this year was no exception. With CSK, I like the way they gel as a team and raise when it matters. The camaraderie, bonding and the team spirit are infectious. More so, when the team carries the name of the city you associate yourself with.

Although I was a little disappointed that CSK didn’t win the title for the third time in a row, it was not a big deal. The team that held the nerve won and Kolkatta Knight Riders won deservingly. But, what happened after their victory was amusing. It was funny and sad that a club cricket victory was turned into a state sponsored spectactle at Kolkatta. Imagine 100,000 people turning up on a working day to felicitate the victory at Eden Gardens led by Mamta Didi and a equal number lining up the streets cheering their “heroes”, who apparently are Bengal’s pride. Three other teams have won IPL before and we haven’t seen celebrations of this scale in the past. Today, there is a full page advert in Times of India – Bangalore edition (possibly in all the editions of all the other national dailies) thanking the fans for their support.

I don’t really care how KKR celebrate. After all, it is their hard earned victory, especially after languishing at the bottom of the table for long. But, what irks me is the will of the politician in Mamta to quickly seize the opportunity and turn KKR’s victory as her own. It is a shame that she believes that people would bury the memories of her misrule deep under the lawns of Eden Garden. I wouldn’t be shocked if KKR owner Shahrukh Khan gets nominated to Rajya Sabha from West Bengal. Well, in this country – anything is possible.

If KKR’s victory is a trendsetter, that will be great. A team achieving victory through hard work should be the lesson for every other team in any game – not just cricket. But, if their celebrations become a trendsetter, we will have something to worry about in future. Over a period of time, this will turn into a victory of one Indian city over another. Given the emotional nature of Indians, this will pose a serious challenge to the federal structure of the country. I ask myself if I am over-reacting. I am not. Imagine a city like Bangalore celebrating the victory over Chennai or the viceversa, just like Kolkattans did yesterday – I would shudder to think of the consequences.

On a lighter note, what if the same team ends up at the bottom of the table next year? Wouldn’t Mamta declare the team as a bunch of Maoists. Well, in any case – as KolkattanS and their team are having the moment of their lives, let me end this rant by congratulating them on their victory and wishing them good luck for next year.

A Year That Was..

It has been nearly a year since I put up my last post in this blog. I have no idea if people even visit this page. Honestly, I don’t. But, if I don’t write anything here, this website will slip into cyber grave, even without my knowledge, which I am keen to avoid.

Almost a year after returning to India for good, life is good, cool, crazy – all combined into one. Contrary to my anticipation before coming to India, work is not consuming all my time. It is not like I have to work for 12 to 14 hours a day, if you don’t count the thinking time I spend on work related stuff. Work life has been challenging and crazy, but the good part is I am able to have some time for myself.

On the personal front, I am still yet to learn a swear word in Kannada, which is a shame. Bought India’s largest selling sedan that has the lowest possible ground clearance, which is letting me appreciate the architectural marvels of speed breakers. Just started exploring the positives of Bangalore – its fine retaurants, book shops et al. And yeah, life rolls on and there goes another year in my life. Let me see how long this blog innings is gonna last.

Good luck and God bless!