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Mulling politics (hopelessly) over a cup of ‘Adrak Chai’ (hot steaming Ginger Tea) in Doha cold….

February 19, 2014

Wanting to blog a lot on local politics in last 4-5 months, finally found time here in Doha. Oct-Jan are my busiest months – being the peak of festive season (that starts actually by July-Aug for us with the holy month of Aadi anyway)….  Sep was the ‘Anantha Vratham’ that followed a belated Ganesh Chaturthi and Janmaashtami …. Navrathri is hectic, and happy finally when Dussara ushers in.  Diwali next and the month of Karthika. Then starts my son’s study hols and practicals and semester exams…. and then finally the much awaited vacations: Doha, holiday in India then double back to Pongal season.  And finally now back to Doha – and it is under 10 degree here (until I go back to observe Chitra Pournami (full moon) after the advent of Vishu/Tamil New Year in mid-April) (missing as such Shivrathri in my temple this month end with lots of regrets). Switch on the tv in the biting cold, and all you see is Arnab Goswami barking at Andhra MP (precisely Nellore MP) Rajagopalan for use of pepper-spray in Parliament daring him in the face:  ‘so are you a rowdy MP?  rowdy politician?  can’t you see what a shame you have brought to the nation?  can’t you atleast apologize?’

Excuse me, I am weary of this Arnab to my bones but for once (bad) words (for him) died in my throat (although I did hiccup over my cup of chai spilling it on the sofa)…  did I really hear it alright?!  Replied the unperturbed MP, ‘its perfectly legal to get pepper-spray into the parliament, nothing illegal about it!!!’

So do I lack entertainment in Doha, really?  Not with desi channels beamed into this tiny desert land to see to that we desis never get bored!

Totally hopeless I flip channels and here we have the Pakistani tv with hostess in a totally painted face, lipstick sticking out like a sore thumb and rouge so reddish like a skin rash.  What is wrong with these ladies.  They are gorgeous anyway.  Too much make-up makes them look cheap.  Star tv serial actresses don such garish make-overs and costumes but news readers and comperes?  There is one woman anchor in one of their channels who also barks equally ferociously like Arnab Goswami at some hapless Pakistani man any given day.  Men seem to recoil at her very kohl-tinged fiery eyes!! OMG! What a mother-in-law she could make in future lolz 🙂 All 24 hours these channels have hottest debates on (their useless) national politics.  Dreaded terrorists like Maulana Masood Azhar and Hafez Sayed are discussed by well groomed men and women – in very civilized tones without batting their eyelids (with all men dyeing blackest their hair, slicked back and shining, and all ladies one hundred percent with straightened hair and manicured nails).  (i feel most unclean and shabbiest just looking at them there in the tv !)  So look at their celebrated heroes and hot topics. Sic.  In between the news slots are crime stories re-enacted.  In most of these, women are the scheming criminals, petty thieves, and over years, the plot remains unchanged.  All trouser-clad women necessarily smoke and prostitute themselves.  But all dainty looking girls in salwar kameez-dupatta are noble in virtue. Tucked in between are advertisements that are not so done pro, for mostly frozen chicken, tea, soaps, shampoos, cooking oil, pepsi and coke and cell phones.  Summarizes their entire commercials content.  Amateur and not sleek. The last straw is when they start telecasting a press conference of the Taliban legitimizing the Taliban, respected citizens of Pakistan (but not before a video clipping of an array of coffins brought out by an armed convoy of guards (or whoever) all of whom are carrying (AK 47s?) heavy machine guns (my knowledge of weapon grades is poor) with little children hanging in the periphery.  Invariably there is a hospital and ambulance scene with the dead piled over one another and the wounded crying for help.  Some country this is! A thousand Salaams and my India is million times better off and not this, MashaAllah!  This is NOT normal.

Makes me wonder whether to make up for all the sinister, murky news and videos, their woman anchors have to work twice as hard and look their best to balance the broadcasts and minimize the damages.

Commercial break for a turkish soap/cinema with liplocking scene – just what they claim is their native culture.  In their next channel, pops up this totally contrasting ad calling for enrollment in ‘Madrasas’ from around the world for learning ‘Koran’ – 300$ per year, boarding, lodging free and so on.  The scene cuts to a madrasa where rows and rows of young boys in skull caps double up at waist, getting the arabic verses by heart with such a single-minded concentration.  Something makes my blood curdle – i feel a chill down my spine, I don’t know why may be because this is Pakistan, the land of the Taliban.  And so the idea of young boys with their fresh, impressionable minds coming here from all over the world to learn anything unsettles me totally. Never felt this way watching even the camel races in Saudi tv.  Of late Arabs seem to be reforming with child camel-riders/jockeys becoming a rarity.

Nepalese and Bangla channels are poor imitations of Indian tv channels – big brother India definitely sports a super attitude and everyone has to stay in our shadow to eternity, mind it!

In desi tv news channels between 30 minute news slots, we have advertisements for latest cars, holiday packages, notebooks, if its mobile ad its not less than I Phone or latest Samsung Android, IPOs in business institutions, hi-fi medicare in swanky hospitals etc, sprawling private universities, Gitanjali diamond, Asmi diamond, Nakshatra diamond, Swiss watches ofcourse not without SRK and his brand Tissot (!) etc., etc.  May be sometimes I guess this is becoming the defining difference between the two neighbours.  What a lively and progressive scenario from just across the border.   Instead of Madarasa ad, there is the ad calling for enrollment in Miss India contest, with a skimpily clad woman waving at you with a big smile.

Mallu channels have back-to-back commercials of Malabar Gold, Joy Allukkas with Amitabh Bachchan to Madhavan to Akshay Kumar vying with each other to certify which chain of showrooms is best in India.  (My vote is for Damas in Doha and GRT Jewellers in Chennai).

There are a good number of business news channels but my favourite CNBC tv 18 is absent.  We subscribe to local package here that comes at a minimal cost so i get mallu channels but not tamil ones.

A glimpse at Zee tv shows Karishma shaking a leg with Govinda, both banging their hips against each other’s (wonder what their grown-up kids will think looking at their parents antics!).  So this is my India – the opposite of Pakistan in every possible way.  Here people carry on as if today is the last day on planet earth for everyone, so lets make hay while the sun still shines!  Who cares if Chidambaram presented the Union Budget or not or Modi thundered in Karnataka to million cheers.  Here is our dream world where we forget the nether exists neither.  A man from the audience rushes to the stage as the ‘style’ dance and music reach a crescendo to thunderous applause from the stands, and misses Karishma and plants a kiss on the male anchor’s cheek !  Oh my, my!  As I said, this is my India!  Man kissing man and so cheers and more cheers!!!  All this a mere one channel/one step away from Taliban press conference next door lolz !!!

Return to TimesNow inevitably and finally.  Looks like I can’t avoid it within or outside India.  Addicted to this idiot Arnab I guess 🙂  Hate him but!  By this time, my chai is lukewarm and I rush to reheat it in the microwave.  (In India I threw out my microwave long back and started using OTG but I do use microwave in Doha because it is office-provided and free hehehe – typical Indian mind at work!)

Now to matters that remained on the backburner of my mind for too long:

AAM AADMI ARVIND KEJRIWAL.

ANNA HAZARE AND HIS FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION….

Wanted to blog in detail during the Anna Hazare campaign during which time also i was in Doha.  (so put in a token entry here – as if this is the official registry of all political events and present history in the country!)  The Anna wave had reached us here offshore, sailing all the way through oceans;  So I thought perhaps finally something was happening.  The papers daily carried his picture as well as that of swelling crowds in the streets of Delhi (never mind ‘Gulf Times’ is mostly staffed by Mallus 🙂 )

The cause appeared good to me, even if the goal remained somewhat vague. This ambiguity as to what is exactly termed ‘corruption’ keeps hovering in the back of my mind to this day.   Is there a way one can define corruption one hundred percent precise, to the point?  Is there any intermediary level like a kind of break-even point where we can conveniently consign one and all into one of two definite compartments:  first is like this thing is ‘well within acceptable’ and the second and final  option is like this thing is ‘out or range and unacceptable.’ Just two conditions:  Either Corrupt or Non-corrupt. Any such differentiating line.  I am asking this for a purpose:  I want to know where ‘the building funds’ for school admission fall under!  The most basic and natural question that comes to every citizen who is a parent.  What about tipping in restaurants.  I remember tipping was considered rude in Malaysia but not-tipping is considered rude in India, oh what a world we live in!  And if it comes to that, i am a parent who wants the best for my child and so i WILL contribute to the ‘building fund’ – Anna Hazare and Jan Lokpal be or otherwise.  Because this is the practical India, and I am living in a practical world and not an illusory one.  

The Jan Lokpal Bill sounded far-fetched to my ears.  For the simple logic, you cannot quantify or qualify corruption as this and that.   Okay someone wanted to make a start.  I found whatever my misgivings were, expressed somewhat akin in my daily newspaper ‘The Hindu’ where the bill is rightly feared to become a ‘Frankenstein monster’ over course of time.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lokpal-could-create-a-monster-katju/article3266182.ece

So until such time a foolproof way of qualifying and quantifying corruption in public and political system is clearly outlined, there is no way one can hope to arrest and rout out corruption totally without suspected leakage here and there.  As I see,not many think the way I do.  Or may be this bill could cover the broader perspectives like when it comes to government, public bodies, civic administration, accounting departments, listed companies etc and etc., in which case it is fine.  Here the term ‘corruption’ is somewhat vaguely qualifying.  Whether the same bill can transcend and relate to all levels until the lowest tier is the big question.  Finally its upto the individual as we can surmise readily and easily but one which is the toughest to achieve.  Because tell me, are you a parent unwilling to contribute towards ‘building fund’ to secure for your child an admission into a good school that you crave for his/her better and secure future?  Don’t you pay the autowallah the extra rupees to rush you through peak hour traffic? Do you not try to grease the palm of the traffic constable in case you violate rules and you fear the hassles of moving through slow court proceedings.  All this is tolerable and acceptable in my India and is not considered sin (which I agree is like minor shame lolz) (atleast i am honest).   Sorry I was raised in this environment and it will take time for me to change.  Ofcourse I accept traffic tickets and do not try to bribe officers on duty but wherever tipping helps, i do it to make things easier for me.  Wrong, but its the way it is.  Anna Hazare atleast makes me think nowadays.  Thanks to him, my shame is atleast more pronounced these days.

I respect Anna’s age and his will to go on hunger strike like he did.  Old man of Gandhian era.  His principles are noble and I respect that he envisions a corruption-free India.

Here in India, we simply do not have standardization of anything – without which we cannot dream of obliterating corruption from anything ever.  Not even clothes sizes and shoe sizes are standardized. Sizes vary from label to label.  Area measurements are both in square feet and square centimetres.  Suit your convenience. School buses ply in yellow, blue, green and in all possible colours just like school uniforms come in a multitude of colours.  Auto (tuk-tuk) colour also changes from State to State – green in Delhi i suppose, yellow in Chennai.  So where is the uniformity first, where is the common measuring scale?  If there is one, then there won’t be municipal schools as well as convents, CBSE and ICSE board and so many State boards existing side by side.  Is there any one single regulating authority. Hazare would do well to clean up this mess first and restore some orderliness.  Standardization and uniformity are the vital crucial founding stones to a corruption-free India.  We must have a defining yardstick – a dependable instrument of measure.  Because a friend asked for size 44 from India, which comes as 3 XL in some brands, 2 XL in some like that.  I had to take the tape to store to measure and see for myself what is really size 44.  Finally had to do with two different labelled sizes which are supposedly 44.  In any First World nation, size 44 will be size 44 throughout their length and breadth.  In India, from state to stage things change, systems change, modus operandi changes.

But the RTI always caught my imagination and with it Arvind Kejriwal, very much in limelight today even as Kiran Bedi and Anna Hazare fade into enveloping darkness of pitifully short public memory.

Arvind Kejriwal, who is born the same year as me.  He went to IIT so that’s the clincher for me first and foremost!  Someone as old as me, academic to the core, yet infused with enthusiasm to set right what has gone so dismally wrong all around impressed me. Kejriwal gave up lucrative career options.  Looks ‘aam aadmi’ totally! Married, with a decent sweet family.  His role particularly in RTI movement is commendable.  He has a good track-record.  He is persistent, consistent, systematic. There is no need for Kejriwal to be doing this, yet he is doing this, and that’s the point, that’s the difference between him and me and others of the same class 1985-86 (board exam batch- standard 12 i mean).  I think Kejriwal mirrored to every one of us who rebelled in youth and argued and argued with peers of what went wrong with this nation and what we would do, should we get a chance to rewrite destiny. We all did idle-talk, Kejriwal did not stop with talking. He made the dream come true so that makes him one in a billion literally.

Because, I remember the quiet and calm ’80s when India was not yet open.  We were still steeped in ‘Nehruvian socialist principles’ that culminated in the mixed economy we have today in India where both public and private enterprises co-exist and co-engage to the benefit of the consumers.  I was at one time a student of Econometrics and I had this professor on transfer from Delhi University who was teaching us economics.  And for us math graduates with statistics background, everything needed to be scientific, with proofs and theorems.  We did not write pages and pages like some others who had economics background.  I have forgotten most of the arguments – but I do remember we had fiercely and passionately argued on so many things in that period on Indian economy, government and policies.  One thing i liked about my PG days was that our department overlooked the Marina and the sea breeze would blow at us right away lulling us into a dreamy afternoon siesta.  It would be impossible to stay awake, so unless the professors would be interesting enough, the students could get lost in another world!

(One day the arrogant professor turned to me and said ‘why are you wasting one seat.  After graduation you are going to work as bank clerk and get married. ‘  This was his reply when we were arguing hot on an important topic and he caught me in total surprise. This is the man who claimed he had an ‘Arya Samaj’ wedding in his prime and he had a knack of insulting people.  I was furious and countered him back saying I would take up M.Phil next and proceed on to Phd.  But alas, his words proved true.  I did work for a bank as a clerk and married within 1 year of joining).  (after that no looking back onto economics or econometrics or statistics or mathematics!)

I am saying this because this is the same time when Arvind Kejriwal also must have graduated about.  He went to IIT so finished probably when I started my PG.  In our PG days we had a visiting professor from Kiev, Ukraine.  It was a time when russian colouring books and short stories were still sold in bookstalls across India.  The relationship between India and USSR was thawing.  Gorbachev era was coming to an end.  I think the year was 1990 or 91.  The professor from Kiev had toured many Indian universities and was visiting Chennai (Madras then) in the last leg of his trip.  MUSE (madras university school of economics of which my department of econometrics was a separate entity/part) was not really an impressive one. Our faculty (mostly) sucked. (Reservation quota guys so no wonder)  Day scholar batches looked bored – for everyone it apparently was a transient point – from where either you proceeded to the US for a PhD or to a bank job in India, like that. But some like the Mathematics and Statistics and Commerce and Music and Sanskrit and MBA departments were good. May be not the best, but better than ours.

Of the things the Kiev professor lectured us, he mentioned the hindi film ‘Brashtachaar’ (corruption) with Rajni Kanth as hero released in silver screen in Indian metros.  The billboards were everywhere and so the professor asked the cab driver it seems, what the film was about and what was the meaning of the title.   When he came to know that ‘brashtachaar’ meant ‘corruption’ he said, he couldn’t believe it an iota.  Said he in an exasperated tone that such a bold thing as discussing corruption in public especially in mass media like cinema was unthinkable in USSR!  ‘Gets you instant death!’ he said, ‘you go to Siberia and never come back.’

Here I thought India was poor, but here was this may who claimed he bought bales and bales of Raymond suiting and shirting material and was impressed with the merchandise and quality of merchandise in India.  The scope of shopping was enormous and the slums and poverty of India never dislodged his opinion on consumerist India.  In his eyes, India was a luxurious country, way back in 1990-91, before liberalization came into force.

He also predicted the disintegration of USSR which was drawing closer and the end of the Gorbachev era and was uncertain about his future in Kiev, capital of Ukraine. Ukraine is very much in news now and of all my university days, its his lecture and opinion about India and Russia that I remember most.  He said, states like Lithuania, Estonia and Georgia where there was nothing but snow all around the year with not a single blade of grass growing were doomed without the Russian helping hand.

But for him, I have no interest in Russia or Ukraine.  I do not remember his name either.  But I look forward to Ukraine news always and am watching the political developments these days in Kiev with an interest.

Arvind Kejriwal belongs to those times of 1980s leading upto 1990-91 till P V Narasimha Rao took over as India’s PM.  I recall how passionately we discussed politics in those days  – we the young men and women of India.  We were honestly never into politics, we were all basically materialistic, we went on to graduate, find job, find a life partner, beget children and settle into routine and comfortable everyday life.

But someone bothered all these days.  Someone like Arvind Kejriwal.  His friends from IIT have given testimonies to this effect on many Facebook pages.

Initially I was also with Kiran Bedi, but fell apart gradually with her (ideologically i mean).

‘Aam Aadmi Party’ (AAP) won hands down the New Delhi Assembly elections which is not a surprise given the cloud of infamy under which the Congress party’s Sheila Dixit mis-ruled Delhi as Chief Minister.  It was a defining moment in Indian history but I was one of the skeptics who kept my opinion that AAP divided the BJP votes in the elections which is not healthy if repeated in the national scene.   AAP’s joining hands with the very same Congress (who pledged outside support) they defeated confirmed my doubts.

Stability of the nation means more to me over even this so-called widely prevalent corruption issue.  If stability is there at the center, then we can weather any storm.  If the centre is weak, even China and Pakistan will try playing ugly pranks at us.

And so with Anna my misgiving was that, the shaking of a deeply-rooted vibrant democracy like ours is unhealthy.  The unending fasting like Gandhi’s ‘Satyagraha’ was like a kind of emotional blackmail.  Around us many empires/ruling governments were falling:  Egypt precisely.  Syria was brewing trouble already.  The world has seen the ‘Arab spring’ but i always wondered whether it was also the ‘Arab disaster and Oil America.’ The destabilizing methods of Anna Hazare are not something I looked at kindly.  The crowds put on an impressive show and it was unlike anything India had witnessed in a decade or two.  But the plus point is, it made people sit up and think about ‘corruption’ the way they never did.  So in that way, I supported Anna – whose campaign appealed to me at moral, ethical level.

Finally although, I was glad and relieved the government at Delhi did not budge an inch, however corrupt our MPs and Ministers could be. India is not Libya or Iraq or Egypt or Syria and this needs no explanation.  This tree of democracy like ours is deep-rooted, strong and balanced and won’t shake or shed a leaf in passing storm.  So sure-footed.  Naturally.  It has though its under-belly but it can take care of itself.  It is fine in all circumstances and it is dependable, stable, all-weather proof.  For India never had any sycophant dictator/anarchist privately amassing huge wealth and terrorizing citizens in history except for in Moghul era; Democracy is the mantra since our independence in 1947, democracy is the last word.

Even ‘Rama Rajya’ was supposed to fail after a generation or two if one goes by the wise words of our ancestors, and anti-incumbency factor invariably sets in.  Laws of nature.  I do not mean to say that its okay to live in this mindlessly corrupt India really,  I do agree there has to be some re-thinking on the issues where money power has come to rule as the deciding factor.  I merely do not know where to begin.

Meanwhile Arvind Kejriwal has resigned as Delhi CM.  Here is a funny caricature on his conquest and retreat:

1939425_702347966452067_143901669_n

Although apparently, Kejriwal intends contesting coming Lok Sabha Polls 2014 which could be the reason for his short stint in Delhi.

As the parliamentary elections draw closer, the national scene is getting pretty interesting and Arnab Goswami is raising his pitch like never before – wonder whether he swallowed any loudspeaker when he was a little boy!

With the news of commuting of death sentences for Rajiv Gandhi killers to life sentences pouring in, emotions go for a tailspin.  ‘Election gimmick’ screech many and my CM Jayalalitha was quick to cash in on SC judgement that the State could explore within its jurisdiction the scope of releasing the convicts who had served over 23 years of imprisonment, mostly in solitude.  She ordered the release of all seven which news was received with jubilant cheers in some quarters of the State though not everyone agrees with the ruling.  Backlash from the center was almost immediate in condemning the CM for the privileges she took for granted under the guise of the SC ruling which did not elucidate in detail, point by point, for total and/or immediate release of convicts.  The high voltage drama is playing out right now, lets see what happens next.

As for me, 23 years in solitude must be more than enough for the assassins but given the grave nature of the criminal offence they committed which I equate to war against India, any reprieve in this case would send wrong signals to would-be terrorists.  The arrows can be broken, what about the bow that sends the poison arrows?  The same with hanging Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistani terrorist caught alive in 26/11 Mumbai massacre.  When heinous terrorists and masterminds are roaming the streets of Karachi and Lahore and our own RAW is a fit-for-nothing organization sleeping flat on national interest and security, what purpose is served by hanging one man by the end of the rope?  Kasab and Afzal Guru were perceived as necessary symbols and signals to everyone of the would-be sabotagers and terrorists and anti-nationals that India’s national security is of prime and first concern and none who wages war against the nation will be spared unpunished.  By the same yardstick, why were not the Rajiv Gandhi assassins judged?

Why do I think Jayalalitha orders release of the Rajiv Gandhi assassins?

Because if you are tamil who has lived always in Tamil Nadu, you know in your heart the mastermind behind Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination and how there is this lurking doubt that even LTTE and its head Vellupillai Prabhakaran could have been backstabbed and double-crossed? Like everyone else Jayalalitha probably believes the convicts behind the bars probably KNEW NOTHING of the plot that unfolded, held key to nothing, that they were unsuspecting accomplices, co-conspirators used by some vested interests.

The real adversaries for this Indian nation are not in Pakistan and China but within Indian borders – in Tamil Nadu, in Indian Mujahideen, in Punjabi Khalistanis for instance.  These are the venomous anti-nationals residing very  much in our midst, attempting to poison the soul of India and usher us into chaos and death.  And these WILL FAIL, must fail.

As a Tamil, I want nothing short of death sentences for the Rajiv Gandhi assassins even though like everyone in Chennai, I have reasons to believe that the convicts were mere pawns in a big, dangerous game that we all know about but don’t dare to talk about.  Yet I want the three convicts to hang dead in gallows and when it comes clear they won’t, I hang my own head in shame that my state took the life of a national leader in a most, brutal, heinous, monstrous manner.  In the same Sriperumbudur today, within walking distance from Rajiv Gandhi memorial is my son’s college, about 48 km from the city.  In 1991 did I ever think that one day my son would be attending college here, next to Hyundai factory and Nokia factory? None talks about Rajiv Gandhi anymore, this is a gold mine today, thanks to his slaying.

Before the toll is the old dirt side road leading off the highway winding to old Sriperumbudur famous for its Srinivasa temple and Sri Ramanuja, the revolutionary vaishnavaite.  I think of visiting this historic religious shrine everytime I cross the highway but have never given a thought so far to Rajiv Gandhi.  Sadly he has slipped from all our memory.

As for Rahul Gandhi’s wrath, this has no meaning considering the congress party involved itself with DMK and allegedly even shared the spoils in 2G scam as claimed/believed in certain quarters.  The day you Gandhis broke bread with Karunanidhi and family, the national party lost its credibility in my eyes, in fellow Tamils’ eyes. 

Andhra Pradesh bifurcated into Telengana and Seemaandhra

Another ploy by Sonia Gandhi to divide and reduce India to bits and pieces?

Finally the division got decisive but the issue pushed to the background with irrelevant and useless media coverage on minor matters.  May be on purpose.  My heart goes out to the people of Andhra, who are down to earth simple, god fearing and traditional to the core.  During our days in Ongole, we have been to some of the oldest Narasimha temples and Shiva temples and Balaji temples – the piety, the aura is breathtaking.  What a vibrant culture.  This vast land is like a big, strong nerve/vein of India – connecting Tamil Nadu with other states.  All highways span out of Tamil Nadu through Andhra Pradesh as well as all rail routes – except for a handful through the smaller adjoining state of Kerala.  Tamil Nadu shares a minimal border with Karnataka mostly in forests.  Coastal Andhra Pradesh (Seemaandhra) is especially a fertile heaven, with Nellore called ‘the rice bowl of India.’  Its a land rich in everything – paddy fields, fishing/aqua-marine culture, minerals, textiles.  We have even backtracked once through Chirala along the coast to Vijayawada – staying parallel to the sea through out as much as possible, meeting back NH-5 only when we could no more.  All the way we passed through cashewnut groves and pristine beaches, untouched and unexplored.

Someone from Andhra tells me even if Hyderabad would continue as the union capital for both states, Ongole could be developed as the Seemaandhra capital over the larger city of Vijayawada, as Ongole is well-connected to Chennai and is on sea coast.  Hilly Vijayawada is a delta where river Krishna empties into the Bay of Bengal and is an unimaginably fertile land all around for hectares and hectares.  None wants these agri lands to see urban development so the flatbed Ongole could be a better choice.  In which case, it makes me so happy.  (But some profess first choice is always Vijayawada).   Ongole is rich with granite deposits and home to multi-billionaires, not as lackadaisical as its superficial looks suggest.  Its true richness, true wealth is something that none can fathom out easily.  That is the essence of Andhra.  I love its mango groves, the orange trees, the sweetlime trees, the jasmine climbers, the pure and crystal clear water and the unpolluted air (atleast it was so when we were there). Quality of life is much better in Ongole anyday than in a metro like Chennai.  And if we have the money power, Ongole and Vijayawada are best places to live – although my choice would be for a cooler Ongole, 20 km from a calm and serene sea, with its laidback lifestyle.

As for Telengana,

I have only seen this part from a moving train and its the dire opposite of the coastal Andhra Pradesh.  Interior Andhra, or rather Telengana is not a nice place.  It is altogether interior, hot, far away from the sea, closer to the Tropic of Cancer, dry in most parts despite two big flowing rivers Godavari and Krishna and used to reek of bonded labour once upon a time.  Hopefully it is no more so with conditions improved in this modern age.  Accumulation of wealth in one part of Andhra probably forced the creation of movements to separate Telengana which could finally come to attract investments ( that went one way all these days to Nellore-Vijayawada belt or to the capital Hyderabad).  Lopsided development is a chief reason for this bifurcation although none wants to admit it. Telengana is in total disrepair.  It has happened whether we wanted or not, so lets nurture it.

The Seemaandhra MPs on ‘dharna’  must ask themselves where they went wrong and what they have done for what is to be ‘Telengana’ in last 60 years.

Andhra Pradesh is/was the size of France.  So for administrative purposes and equitable development, there is essentially no harm in bifurcating it.  But I know it is impossible to come to terms with this division by Andhraites, because such a division of Tamil Nadu is unthinkable for me.

Where there is a will, there is a way.  How Naxal movement died a natural death in a developing Andhra is a clear case of how good administration and trickling signs of progress here and there can work wonders for the rural masses.  Naxalites are rebels, not terrorists.  All they are up against is backwardness, bad administration and governance.  Wherever growth is apparent and there is scope for promise, the movement seems to lose grip and fade away into a natural death.  So in my personal opinion, heavy handedness against naxals even in the red corridor is wrong.  The casualities in naxal ambushes are usually the police and ministers and governments servants.  Any disagreement here?  Treat the self-styled communist commandos with kindness, give them the promise, show them the light,  see them work wonders for their villages and the nation.

Oh… no…. my ginger tea is too very cold by now, getting it reheated once again!  Compared to Indian politics, what a breather Qatar news is.  All their national headlines is national sports day, doha 2022, new museum etc etc.  Reminds me of how when Pakistan imposed Kargil war on India and we were waiting to read the news in Malaysian press, their headlines would screech how chicken price was raised by a single ringitt to 7/- a kilo from the prevailing rate of 6/-.  It was a time when broadband was not around and the dial-up network internet used to be slow.  Still, why is India unlike other peaceful nations?  Why do we always dwell in conflicts and controversies?  Will we ever have everlasting peace?  Will we ever have the ultimate ‘Ram Rajya’ of which we have only heard of and have never so far seen with actual eyes?  Looks like, Malaysia and Qatar have true ‘Ram Rajya’ over us, hahaha!  But what I hear from Malaysia these days is not good news, something that does not go down well with me.  Not my headache atleast.

Ok my ADRAK CHAI once again hot and steaming and inviting, and this time i am gonna gulp it in a second.  Let murky politics wait.

Who says I am all free in Doha?  The mere laundry does me in, especially in winter months.

And I call my son atlast who assures me coolly, he is not at all missing his parents, and is fine by himself!  Just what I wanted to hear!  Makes you happy and sad at the same time when your adult child says he/she is independent and does not need you anymore.

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From → Dilli Durbar

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