Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas and New Year 2009

Time flies faster than we think we can keep a track of...

Here's wishing all a very happy Christmas and New Year 2009!

May the world witness peace this year and may the financial crisis end bringing high quality of life and prosperity.

Love and regards,
Niedhie

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Young Revolution

I have been following the debate that has followed the Mumbai blasts in the country. A lot has been said about the inefficiency of the government which has failed miserably not only to stop such terror attacks but also to address the sentiments of the Indian public after the aftermath. I am overwhelmed to see the Indian youth revolting and putting efforts to make themselves heard. There is a visible determination to even take up politics, take charge and root out the problem themselves.

But my concern is not only terrorism anymore. I want to capitalise on the new uprising that India is witnessing, the new awareness that Indian youth is seeing, this new wave of revolution. Why not raise all the other issues that India should be concerned about currently and in the days to come? Why not capitalise on the momentum? Why not dirty our hands well till the elbow when we have already dirtied our palms by taking charge of the current situation in the country?

One global forecast says that the global economic downturn would considerably affect the emerging economies like India and China. The World Bank projects China’s growth to slow from 11.9% in 2007 to 7.5% in 2009 and India’s from 9% to 5.8%. Does not this concern you? The new India that we are so proud of will see a shrinking consumerism, a shrinking money spending and thereby a fall in the standard of living. It has been only sometime that we had started understanding the benefits of an economic development and working towards it, that our concentration has now been diverted. It had only been sometime that I was feeling relieved that we had understood that all our problems would be taken care of if we could simply concentrate on economic and infrastructure development, and now we have so many problems to take care of.

Social under-development in some of the states in India remains a consistent problem. Some states just seem to have made it a point not to develop. They seem to be vying with each other in the parameter of under-development. It hurts to me to say West Bengal tops my list. I have spent well of my growing up days in West Bengal and have grown up hearing stories about its glory and the famous line that ‘what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow’. Where has all that glory gone? West Bengal seems to have stopped thinking ages ago. I do not have anything against the communist party, in fact to an extent I have respect for the ideologies they stand for. But I have issues with those ideologies if they put my state into stagnation or under-development. I have not seen a single significant project, a single change for good that I can list here. The Tata-Nano project in Singur is also gone now. I wonder what good has it done to the hopes of workers expecting to derive livelihood out of it. Orissa, Bihar, Assam and Uttar Pradesh are some other causes of worries.

Isn't it now time to understand our strengths and use them for our benefits? Our strength is democracy, where each one of us are accountable to every other member of society. Our strength is our good heartedness. Even after our lives got shaken by the 26/11 carnage, we din't go out on a rampage and din't believe in the footsteps of US after 9/11. We showed our strength of understanding and thoughtfulness at a time of distress. Our strength is the huge population. When so many voices speak out, it is enough to create a roar and shake up the whole world, let alone those who disturbed our sleeps. Let's understand this and let's act together! Jai Hind!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Personal Inflation Calculator

We are in an era of computing. 80% of my time in office goes into computing and 20% into thinking. The 80% I spend into computing I am generally not thinking much. The computer these days is so sophisticated; it does everything on a click of a button. I don’t remember the last time I multiplied two small numbers in my head and two big numbers on paper.


Interesting feature of this age are calculators. You name it and you have calculators for it. An old concept but I came to know of it a few weeks back – the Biorythms calculator. It bewares you of your mood on any day in future, it tells you how intellectually active you would feel on any date, and also highlights physical fitness. I tried using it for a few days and then realised that I was getting affected by it. If it said that on a Monday I would be physically unfit, then however much physically healthy I might be, I would still crave my bed on that Monday. There is a science behind it I am told, but then I guess I would like to keep the future uncertain and live life the way it comes.


I came across the personal inflation calculator. This calculator asks you various figures. Monthly expenditure on food, meals out, alcohol, phone, internet, clothing and footwear, heating and lighting, chemist, house rent, travelling (including foreign) etc. It din’t take long for me to plug in the values. I have been paying bills myself, making budgets from my salary and planning holidays myself, so was aware of all the questions being asked to the best precision. The outcome was interesting. When I was back in India I would crib in my conversations with the rickshaw pullers and the bus conductors about the inability of the government to prevent inflation which was around 9%. I would mercilessly say that we are incompetent enough to control the ‘badhti mehangai’ (increasing inflation) and I would go to the extent of informing them that in developed countries like the UK the inflation is just near 2% and so probably they do not get so affected by it also.


The personal inflation calculator shows me that my cost of living in London goes up by 5.4% a year compared to an overall national inflation rate of 4.5% per year (November RPI figure). I guess that indicates that my expenditure is also some notch higher that the average in this country, which sounds exciting to me, as I am yet to live a lavish lifestyle here. I wonder where my personal inflation would be then! This means if my annual expenditure is £25000 this year, then other things remaining unchanged I would expect an expenditure of £26350 the next year merely due to inflation. It means for no fault of mine, I would have to work harder to earn that extra bit of money I lost. That means for no fault of mine, it would take longer for me to get into a lavish lifestyle that I aspire for.


My lavish lifestyle is a lifestyle where I don’t have any reason to think twice before doing charity. I don’t need to hold back. I have enough to give. I feel for a cause and I endorse it both financially and manually. There is so much that anything is too less to be given away. How wonderful that will be!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Mumbai - I feel for you

I can't think anything other than the Mumbai blasts. Each time I sit down to write, I think of the huge mockery on Indian resilience that we just witnessed, I think of the incompetent bunch of politicians we have who only care about filling up their own pockets and securing votes, I think of those innocent lives lost, I think of the terrorists who look so human and civilised yet committing the most inhuman and uncivilised act of horrendously killing anybody and everybody without any thought.

Yesterday I watched the least celebrated bollywood movie "Ramchand Pakistani". I cried like a baby towards the end. Had I been watching it alone, I would have probably been wailing. I just could not contain myself. I had been feeling very emotionally charged since the 26/11 event in Mumbai. This movie let it all come out in the form of big tears. I am not liking my helplessness. I really wished that I was just not an ordinary citizen of India, but a celebrity at a position to influence minds through writings and interviews. But why are those whom we have made celebrities in India quiet? Why don't I hear any strong words condemning the event, any solace for the sorrow I feel sitting here seas away from Mumbai? Why don't I see anything changing even though this tragedy changed our lives?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jaago

Utho Bharat, jaago dosto,
Kis baat ka intezaar hai –
Yudh ki bigul bazi dekho,
Hamari vinamrata par kara prahar hai.

Sahanshilta ki seema tuti,
Bhaichare ka bana bhari majaak,
Bekusuro ki jaane gayi,
Shaan hui jal kar raakh.

Ab agar humne saha,
To sahanshilta ka dhong hai,
Jurm karna jis tarah galat hai,
Jurm sehna bhi ek bhayanak rog hai.

Aur phir kyun sahe hum kisi ka aatank,
Kya humme kuchh kami hai,
Prashn yahan ab aman ka nahi,
Un aankhon ka hai jinme nami hai.

Chalo sab milkar kadam badhayein-
Yudh na sahi to satarki to dikhaye,
Hans rahe hai woh hamari nakami par,
Aao swabhimaan kya hai hum unhe bataye!