Monday, September 22, 2008

Livin on a prayer

Living on a Prayer

RePosted from at the “official” blog of Raghu!
 “We’ve got to hold on ready or not
You live for the fight when it’s all that you’ve got.”
These lines from a cult Bon Jovi song have never been truer. The times we live in have become more unpredictable than ever before. All of a sudden, the variables in my life seem to have multiplied a hundred times over. Suddenly tomorrow looks so far away.
Anything can happen, anytime, anywhere.
The recent floods in Bihar have displaced more than 30 lakh individuals. Entire households have been washed away. Countless dead. And many more not traceable. These are just official figures, and common sense tells me these numbers are only a fraction of the actual numbers. Rescue missions are underway. Floods bring in devastation in their wake, but the damage continues even after the floods are over. Epidemics, food shortage, riots, housing problems surface their ugly heads. And let us face it; our government is ill equipped to handle this situation. As always we are in a reactive mode as opposed to being preventive. Needless to say, the people of Bihar will flock to state capitals for survival. What will this lead to? Extra burden on an already over burdened civil structure. Not that I blame the poor people for clogging up the cities. It will be years before the affected people of Bihar will be able to sleep peacefully, much longer to regain normalcy of their lives.
The earthquake in China saw the efficient Chinese machinery step into action in a matter of seconds. Trying to save as many lives as possible and as soon as possible. The Chinese Premier was at the location of the maximum damage in a matter of a couple hours. Relief operation went on till the last living person was rescued. The whole rescue mission gave an impression of a machinery well oiled, maintained and kept ready for any disaster- planned or unplanned. Where were our leaders when Bihar was crying for help? How much of the promised help has actually reached the needy? The army had to step in and take co-ordinate the rescue efforts. Who is manning the borders meanwhile? Why a disaster management plan wasn’t kept ready ‘just in case”?
Operation BAD successfully, yet again, showed us the lacunae of our so called Intelligence agencies. Again, reactive and not preventive. Does one really believe that it is impossible to monitor nefarious activities across the country? Do these so called Jihadis work alone without any support structure? This is totally cannot accept. The Mumbai blasts of 1993 clearly showed us how insider support is necessary for something like this to happen. Now every time I look at a gathering, the first fear that creeps into my mind is the number of casualties should a bomb go off there? Paranoia has settled in me somewhere I don’t know, someplace I can’t reach. I think twice before going to any mall, theatres, or public gatherings. If this is what the terrorists want, then, as far as I am concerned, I think they succeeded in scaring me. But I know, this fear will soon wear off, and I cannot stay cooped up inside the four walls of my home or office. People of Mumbai, and now Bangalore and Delhi, they say are resilient to anything. This is not natural resilience but a forced resilience, because people don’t have a choice. The choice they have, that of voting, is not exercised to bring about the desired effect. Families have to be fed, EMIs have to be paid, School fees have to be paid and life has to be led.
Can we go one living like this? Will my kids accept this way of life as a norm? What can I do so that this ‘expect anything anywhere anytime” phenomena doesn’t get hardwired into the next generation? I will have to make a sea change somewhere.
The first thing that I should have started doing long ago was place the burden of accountability on those who chose to lead me. Start with the local MLA. Find out his plans in case any such eventualities were to befall my area. If 10 people like me, were to ask such questions, then some amount of accountability, albeit however little would be placed on the local governing body. But here is where the problem lies. In all probability I won’t be given a hearing, because the local MLA is busy with something more important than his constituency. His supporters would try and deter me from asking questions to the apparent boss. This is hurdle number one. Next, comes the transparency of operation. Is the reserved amount being spent for the right task, or are some other coffers being filled? We don’t have to look far to see this phenomena? Mumbai gets flooded every year, year on year, in spite of the BMC having sufficient funds to make sure that the civic infrastructure is in place before the rains. Another prime example of the mismanagement of funds is evident in the road conditions of our cities. Look at the roads in Bangalore or Pune or any city of your choice. Does one actually believe that the road tax charged to us is being spent correctly? Or being spent at all? Look at the number of petitions being signed for better roads to get a better idea. This is just one example of the glaring inefficiency of our civic bodies. Who is questioning them? No one? Right.
Now compare the same road condition to a small country like Singapore? Why can’t we have such roads? Don’t we have the budget? Don’t we have the right engineers? Or the right technology? We have all of it, but we don’t have the burden of accountability.
The second thing that needs to be done is to “GET INVOLVED”. And by that I don’t just mean, pay your taxes regularly, file your returns on time, etc. What I mean is get on the floor. Make it a point to ensure that your part of the city or street or bylane is maintained. That will be more than enough for a start. Again, accountability comes into the picture here. Additionally, let’s all of us try and don the Sherlock Holmes cap once in a while. Keep a tab on the neighborhood and make sure no more Afzal Gurus hang out in my area.
The third and the most important part, let us not always be dependent on the civil servants to manage the city. In the absence of working traffic signals, a normal citizen can guide the traffic using nothing more than the will to do so, and some common sense. Why do we have to wait for the traffic constable to come and guide us. This is not some rocket science! We can take the initiative to maintain our lanes, streets and roads. Most of us keep our houses clean, while not paying a second thought while littering outside. Why this mentality? The streets belong to us, as much as to the government. Let us do our bit.
So while my frustration at being at the helpless end is still not over, I have managed to set up some action items for myself. Now, I can only hope that I have the strength, which I think I have, to carry on my resolve.
Let us resolve not to Live only on a Prayer. this article was not written by me. It is seen at it’s a terrific blog for thought provoking articles about the very essence of nation building! I would recommend u subscribe to the blog there.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Wednesday - movie review

Posted at

Movie Review - A Wednesday

Movie: A Wednesday
Cast: Anupam Kher, Aamir Bashir, Deepal Shaw, Gaurav Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah, Rajpal Yadav, Jimmy Shergill

Cinematographer: Fuwad KhanSound
Designer: Rakesh Ranjan
Producer: Anjum Rizvi, Shital Bhatia
Banner: Anjum Rizvi Film Company
Director: Neeraj Pandey

An angry common man wages his war against the system in ‘A Wednesday’.
Now, here’s a flick that could make your day. It doesn’t send you home romping with joy and crooning sweet songs shot at scenic locales in some distant continent. A Wednesday has none of that Bollywood guck and gimmickry. What it does have is a riveting plot, directed skillfully and imaginatively by writer-director Neeraj Pandey. And it has wonderful performances by its two unglamorous but charismatic leading men – Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher .

‘A Wednesday’ is a film set right in our backyard, in Mumbai. And it talks about terrorism from a new angle. The antagonist in it doesn’t come with a stereotyped religious label. In fact, he has no label at all. He is a ‘common man’ who vents out his angst by taking on the system and trying to bring it down to its knees. Only an obdurate Police Commissioner can foil his mission.

Anupam Kher plays that top cop. On a fateful Wednesday he receives a call from a man who claims to have planted bombs in different parts of the city, set to go off at half-past six in the evening. The caller (Naseeruddin Shah, the great) describes self as a ‘common man’ and demands the release of four terrorists if the impending calamity has to be averted.

The threat sends the cops into overdrive as the Commissioner, with the help of an ATS commando ( Jimmy Shergill ) and a tough cop (Aamir Bashir) and a journalist ( Deepal Shaw ), tries to foil the common man’s uncommonly dangerous plan. What’s most remarkable about the movie is that it keeps you gripped despite opening its cards at the very outset. Yes, you are told at the start what the end is going to be. What keeps you hooked is how the plot meanders through many unexpected twists and turns before reaching its predictable denouement.

Kudos to Neeraj Pandey and his technical team for putting together a neat, cohesive and engrossing film about a subject that’s beginning to feature more than often in Bollywood movies. But hats off to Naseer bhai for yet another memorable performance. To the every inch of his skin does Naseer bhai look the angst-ridden antagonist who takes up cudgels against the system in an extreme way. Anupam Kher manages to bring about a calculated balance of calm, control and panic in his performance.

Jimmy Shergill is much better than what we saw last of him. Aamir Bashir shows only flashes of good acting. Deepal Shaw is okay.
What’s not okay is the slightly preachy mode the movie slips into at the end. After all, the last thing we need at the end of the day is a lecture. This, and a few foibles apart, ‘A Wednesday’ makes for a paisa vasool watch.

Raghunandan jagdish


Thursday, September 04, 2008

American experiences

Please NOTE THAt this is a posting from an old blog of mine.



Indian experience



Raghunandan Jagdish

Date Posted:


Nov 1, 01 - 4:15 PM




hi himanshu,

thanks for the views

what u said is all true. The reason why these guys are so polished is cuz they have a high level of education and know a reasonable level of security at least. 

U bet this experience will shake whatever values u r built upon. the value of responsibility, accountability, and attitude~!!! We learn how powerful we can be with our skill sets.. how to exploit ones special skill which would have rotted in India!!

So it'll be a really great experience for WHOEVER comes.. either the "raahi" who stays for a couple of years or the settler!!

and BTW: I took the liberty of including ur views in the discussion board of my website Do express urself there.


Raghunandan Jagdish

Research Assistant,

Turbomachinery Laboratory (Tribology Group)

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840 

Ph: (979) 862-4748 (OFFICE) 

: (979) 268-4296 (HOME)


Attitude counts more than anything else!

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Replying to:

I would like to say that a lot depends on your

orientation and your attitude. 

Back in India you would always have to think twice

before following your heart. Society and public

perception does bear a lot of weight whereas here u r

free to do as u like whenever u like.. nobody minds..

( yah in other words nobody cares )

About gelling with people here.. it's all upto you.

I'm not talking about feeling one with the nation and

stuff.. that would be hard to do. But it's easy to

make friends here..( acquaintances rather with whom u

can chill out ). Forget about getting ppl on whose

shoulder u can cry.. mebbe coz they arent' that type

and mebbe coz this isn't a place for cribbers.. 

What epitomizes this culture is what Mark Twain said

about life in America - "It's like american football

where u r pushed around, fall down, get up again, grab

the ball and get your goal" Everybody here has a sob

story which in most cases you and I can't imagine but

they never let it show. 

Another thing I admire here is the effeciency with

which people work. True they do only as much as they r

paid to do but they do it real well. There r fewer ego

hassles too. U won't find no paan chewing peon making

u wait unnecessarily. 

Wheteher you decide to settle here or go back to India

is a different matter but this experience is really a

must.( atleast for ppl from Mumbai univ.. who've been

spoonfed thx to Jigar's and who've got through copying

assignments) It shows u the other side of life where u

really work hard and play hard.

cheers to life


--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Replying to:



There are two clear ways (maybe not clear to anyone ... but clear definitely to me) 

ONE: Life in USA... as u say dignity of "labour" in USA... Lots of money... but no warmth, no relatives, no feeling of oneness with the country!! u'll remain an alien for the rest of ur lif.. ur children will be ABCDs and will actually be confused!!

TWO: u stay back in INDIA, earn less...spend less...have a standard of living less than u have in USA (what is a common thing here, eg car, is a luxury in desh!!) But u have ur near and dear ones... u have a righ to say its u country, u feel in place!! u willbe happy... even though u find "exploitation".

Now its a highly individual view and so many different factors go into makig a CHOICE!!! And u can never know how good ur choice actually is!! u will NEVER have a benchmark to compare against except ur "judgement" So u have to be judicious in using these options at this stage in life.

As far as the USA goes... this is undoubtedly a great country... the resilience of these people is astounding... its no suprise athey dominate the world. A country where the life of a "fireman" is as valuable as a poliician is a great country... but the fact is u were not born herte. 

I find widespread sycophancy here (among Indians). People who in India never attended a Flag Hoisting ceremony after comming here post stickers of the ameican flag... "God Bless America" et al.... The World trade tragedy is supposedly the "WORST" tragedy to ever befall human race!! these are the exact words of a mail I read from a grad student, best forgotten.

On the other hand.... if u feel that u have ur priority as career, money, et al... then do come here... oppurtunities abound here(at least better than India-- by this i mean that u have to searcher lesser) So i leave u back on square ONE,..... decide what u wanna do... its ur thing!!!!!

Overall... I could have gone on... but its liable to be construed as saying that its my personal views i'm trying to impress...

So if u have some viewpoints please present them forward..... This is a good academic argument!!!!



Research Assistant, Turbomachinery Laboratory

Texas A&M University

College Station., Texas, USA



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