Monday, May 24, 2004

Too busy

I have been busy with work at various times of the day, as a result unable to blog on a consistent basis. I have been to work at 7 AM and also have finished at midnight. This leaves me no time to do my laundry, let alone blogging. There was a time when I was an active blogger that I even forgot laundry, not anymore. Nice clothes are a necessity in the corporate atmosphere. So, I have to do my laundry today.

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Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Dirty Game called Politics

Will he ? Won't he ? Karunanidhi (MK), the old fox, is back at it again. His coalition achieved a major success in Tamilnadu by defeating, NO, steamrolling the ADMK-BJP alliance and winning all the seats in TN. But, any politician wanting to find his place in successive governments should seek out MK. He has managed to be in the last NDA govt and is tipped to be a part of the new govt as well.

The SUN (DMK's party symbol) manages to shine well both in the reigns of the SAFFRON and the HAND. Initially refusing to join the new govt, saying that his party will actively support from outside, MK has made his move to join the new govt. I guess somebody actively persuaded MK to reconsider his position, or is it another way to get at Jayalalithaa ? Whatever happens, the game goes on in TN. Jayalalithaa beware - make sure the Parliament election result does not reflect in the next TN assembly election.

And, ironically, Vajpayee is vacating the PM's residence at 7 Race Course Road and moving into 8 Krishna Menon Marg, the bungalow that once housed Murasoli Maran of the DMK, now deceased.

The new India Inc.

I am just taking a punt on who could be useful in the new govt's cabinet. Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram, Sam Pitroda, S M Krishna, Pranab Mukherjee and Jairam Ramesh. Laloo Yadav will make a good choice as the Minister for Poultry and Animal Feed (if there is such a portfolio). This leaves the PM post open for Sonia Gandhi. Any choice of posts for Rahul and Priyanka apart from being The First Son and The First Daughter ?

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Saturday, May 15, 2004

Journey back home

Good things do happen on the Frankston train on friday nights. What made the half an hour journey interesting inspite of the crowds and drunkards (that usually take the friday night trains) was the presence of two kids with their south indian moms. Since the moms were talking in Tamil, I naturally, eavesdropped on their conversation. Most of their conversation was about the latest Tamil movies, Aayutha Ezhuthu and about the present scenario of TN politics, to be specific about the recent elections in which ADMK (Dr. JJ) has been defeated. And, furthermore, the position of Rajnikanth now in the TN political world.

Coming to think of it, how is Aayutha Ezhuthu faring guys ? I am dying for its release here in Melbourne.

Death of a Pedophile

This guy, William Brown, a former Australian diplomat, was sentenced to a 13 year prison term by an Indonesian court sometime back, due to acts of pedophilia committed some years back. He is said to have reacted angrily when the judge handed out the sentence, and believed that he was made a scapegoat by the entire administration. He had left his hometown, Canberra nearly eight years ago, when the investigation by the Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade was commenced. And in the Thursday edition of The Australian, the paper has almost reported him as a martyr, who committed suicide after he was wrongly accused. I distinctly remember a Channel Nine report some months back, when the reporter asked whether he regrets doing such acts of child molestation, he said he did not regret it.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has described his suicide as 'regrettable' - what is to be regretted about such a person ? Personally, it is better that he took his own life, rather than a shooting squad as in some Arab countries.

Sonia as PM

Is she about to become Primo Ministro of India ? Very likely. The fact that she is not a born Indian, rather a naturalized one still angers many, I guess. But apart from this fact, is the question whether she will be able to discharge the duties of a PM very effectively in due course of time. Already the first test is out for the new govt, a scheduled rise in the petrol and diesel prices. She will have the backing of a trustworthy team with Manmohan Singh and others. She will miss the political acumen and suaveness of Madhavrao Scindia for sure. And, that of Rajesh Pilot as well.

One tip for you Signora Sonia, if you get to read my blog, make Manmohan Singh as the Finance Minister and try to rope in P. Chidambaram somehow. These are the guys who set the economic path for India some years back.

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Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Great Indian Elections

The Indian voter has delivered his verdict. Two consecutive NDA governments and he has become too tired of it. So he goes along and votes for the Congress coalition, headed by Sonia Gandhi - would she turn out to be Femme Fatale in later days ?. I should agree that the Congress think-tank has worked out its strategy very well, and the NDA has lost because of its overconfidence. True, the NDA did very good things for the Indian public. It put up a very good show in the Kashmir problem with Pakistan, and Vajpayee was hailed as a real peacemaker. The economy of the country was booming and the Forex reserves were full. I guess this happens in every election year. But the thought that Sonia Gandhi could very well become the next PM of our country is something I am unable to digest. As Amit has pointed out, we should be ashamed of ourselves of not being able to find a true Indian leader in such a huge population.

I am unable to fault the NDA or specifically the BJP in any one part, except for the foolishness of people like Murli Manohar Joshi or the sheer idiocy of Narendra Modi in running the Gujarat govt the way he did. The Congress think-tank capitalised on all these issues and this is the result. Put in a simple way, take care of the pennies and the pounds will save themselves or micro-economics to the core.

Whether the Congress govt will be able to achieve anything, purely in a non-realistic sense, is something that we have to wait and watch ? And, especially after aligning with parties of dubious nature like DMK, PMK, MDMK ?

It reminds me of something - The HAND that rocks the cradle ........ ?

A suggestion to the top brass of the NDA, Vajpayee, Advani, Chandrababu Naidu - Chill Out Guys, you have earned a well deserved rest. Let the Congress do all the running now.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

First Day at UCMS

Today is the first day of work at UCMS, and I will be starting at 3.30 PM AEST. Let me see how it goes. Naturally, I am gung ho about this whole new work thing, and five days of watching romantic movies have left me craving for some action - work wise. I did not do anything else apart from eating, sleeping and watching these movies. And, I get to use my dog tag for the first time today.

Madhu Trehan and Chet

I guess some of you should have heard of the name, Madhu Trehan, who writes for Outlook Magazine very regularly and was with India Today previously. A reader has written his comments for one of her articles and she has suitably replied for this, have a read below.

Hi Madhu,

I have read your articles ever since I was a kid and you were at India Today. You have often come across as a balanced person not prone to Gandhi nonsense, until now. I live in a White Nation (the US) and have never felt like a second class citizen. Only a blind and a deaf person can compare the pride of a US citizen with the indignity of being an India. A US citizen trusts his government, knows his/her death will never go unpunished,
while an Indian solider is there to die. Elite is a bad word in India because 95% of our country lives in abject poverty.

Next time ask the waiter in Taj who served you the Rs 400 drink, how much he makes in a month. The Durban who opens the door for you, ask him how much he makes? I bet his monthly salary will be around your dinner bill. Shame on you and journalists like you who have failed India in the past with coloured reporting and are doing so now. They should feel ashamed. Rather than calling bush names, maybe we should hang our heads
in shame on PM's like Vajpayee who is too old to walk, too much of a coward to protect his people.

Maybe, just maybe, the day people like us (the English educated hence smarter) start feeling ashamed enough we will start making changes in India rather than just exploiting our servants and labour class. It anguishes me to read this national character articles. A nation that cannot feed its people (a la Orrisa) has no character, a nation whose
children move around naked (Mumbai) has no reason to feel proud, a nation whose elected reps call religious riots "opposite reaction" has no future. Once again, shame on you and all of India. I am ashamed to be an Indian and shame on you for suggesting anything else.

Chet (Chaitanya)

Her response was:

Hello Chet,

I will answer your letter point by point.

Your name. You can be Chet or Jet, stay away from the sun, fake an American accent, but you will never be able to run away from Chaitanya. He will always be there even though you hate him today.

Gandhi, whom you hold in such contempt, despite all his controversial behavior, is largely responsible for the fact that there is no white boot on a part of your anatomy today.

You live in a white nation but you are not white and never will be. You can fool yourself to believe that you are not treated as a second class citizen. You choose to forget the Dot Busters, the Sikh who was killed because he looked foreign and rampant racism. How many times a week do you have to explain where you are from and spend your time EXPLAINING India to Americans? I cringe to think what you say to them about India. We do not need spokesman such as you. You will never be able to share a good desi joke with any of your new friends. If you can't laugh together, you cannot understand each other. You will always be an alien.

Yes, we are economically poor compared to US but we do not have to suffer the highest rate of teenage pregnancies, kids coming into schools and killing students and teachers, the highest rate of suicide among college students, alienated parents and children, lonely old people dumped into old age homes, drugs being offered to eight year olds (as my daughter was when she was in the UN school in New York), serial marriages and divorces. The US had a president who was senile and deaf (Reagan), one who turned out to be a serial sex offender (Clinton), and now you have one who didn't know the heads of state of major countries and ignored warnings of a terrorist attack months before it took place. The US is responsible for massacres in Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Chile and the list goes on. The rest of the world does not view America with the rose-coloured glasses you have been brainwashed by the US media to see thorough.

And, how much does a waiter in Jean Georges restaurant in Trump International Hotel in New York make compared to the price of the drink he is serving? The labour class in exploited all over the world.

You seem to very upset that I am pointing out we have a national character to be ashamed of and we should do something about it. Your insistence that we stay ashamed and do nothing about it is perhaps to make it easier for you to live in a country where the only religion is to hang out at malls and accumulate consumer items you don't really need but have been dictated by advertising to buy that, to keep the US economy going. It is not by accident that Americans are flocking to yoga and meditation classes to buy happiness.

You have done well to leave a country you are ashamed of. Call yourself an American but sooner or later your disguise and American Halloween costume will frighten you enough to get rid of it.

I love America's energy and have good friends there. New York is a centre for an enormous outpouring of creativity and imaginative thinking. Every country has its own problems. It is for the people who belong there to take responsibility for change.

If you are so far removed from India, ask yourself why you are so anguished with my article. Chaitanya is raising his head, Chet is in trouble.

Regards,
Madhu Trehan

(Source : From email)

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Saturday, May 08, 2004

Romantic Weekend

I just bought a DVD of the Bridget Jones Diary and followed it up by buying the book of Bridget Jones Diary - The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding. Yes, it is going to be a romantic weekend by my ratings. I am sorry that I have disappointed some of you.

And yes, I am starting work on Wed next for Telstra NAC team. So, something to keep me occupied.

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Thursday, May 06, 2004

My Experiments with Truth

I just purchased Gandhiji's autobiography for $32. Felt that I should atleast know something more about this great person apart from the fact that he is the Father of the Nation.

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Phonetic Alphabets

This is the list of the alphabets that will be used so that we can ask people to spell out their names. This might be useful if you are living abroad apart from India.

A - Alpha, B - Bravo
C - Charlie, D - Delta
E - Echo, F - Foxtrot
G - Golf, H - Hotel
I - India, J - Juliet
K - Kilo, L - Lima
M - Mike, N - November
O - Oscar, P - Papa
Q - Quebec, R - Romeo
S - Sierra, T - Tango
U - Uniform, V - Victor
W - Whiskey, X - Xray
Y - Yankee, Z - Zulu.

Amit - your reps might need these. A tip to post on AC & T walls ??

@ Work

I took couple of calls from Inbound customers today and yesterday. The process is fairly simple, activate SIM cards that customers have bought. Take down the details and enter them into the Telstra database, and then read them any Terms and Conditions if applicable. Next time, if you activate a Telstra Prepaid Plus Mobile, it might be me.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

First Words

I have joined UCMS for training on Monday and so far the training is going good. Lots of rates to be mugged up, and the usual company privacy policies, sexual harrassment policies etc. I have joined a campaign that would be activating prepaid mobiles of Telstra at the National Activation Centre (NAC). The office is located on the 10th and 11th floors of a building, and from my cubicle, I have a spectacular view of the Port Philip Bay. I have had my photo taken for the keycard pass, without which there will be no access to the lifts and the floors. I hope that I will get the keycard today. I saw many people from my earlier company, AC&T working there.

TV and DVD Player

I know that Amit would be really cross with me, for doing this, but, this is an investment for the future. I bought a Rockwood TV for $199 and a Tedelex DVD player with MP3 player functionality for another $89. I talked about this with my parents before doing this, and they were pretty excited about this.

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Saturday, May 01, 2004

Change of Job

I have resigned from AC&T, where I was working for the last one year, to move to Inbound customer service support for Telstra. I attended the interviews on Wednesday and was offered the job on the next day. Monetary wise, it is not a big deal, because it is still a temporary job, paid on a hourly basis. But it is better than Outbound sales. This campaign is supposed to run for another 3-4 months, and after that, well, back to AC&T, maybe.

The next week is full of training for the new job and only the week after next, I would need to be back on the phones in my new avatar.

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